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Astronaut's artistry hits warp speed

Chris Hadfield / CSA via Twitter

The Andes mountains blur to the horizon in a cold Pacific fog. http://pic.twitter.com/cc3H8Yog



Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's creative side seems to be firing up the warp drive: He has sent out more than a dozen pictures of Earth as seen from space over the past couple of days. He's getting ready for an Earth-plus-space singing session on Friday, in collaboration with Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson. And speaking of warp drive, he'll be chatting with Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, a.k.a. William Shatner, on Thursday during a webcast presented by the Canadian Space Agency.

It's a marvel that Hadfield, who flew up to the International Space Station in December and is due to become the station's commander next month, has any time left to do actual astronaut stuff. But apparently he does.

"Good morning, Earth! A full Monday of science experiments in colloid suspension, Biolab, and overnight fluid physics liquid bridge," he reported in an Google+ update. "But first, breakfast!"

To be fair, Hadfield isn't doing all this outreach by himself: It's no secret that his son, Evan, is helping to manage the astronaut's Twitter and Google+ traffic as well as other Earthside affairs. But there are some things not even Evan can handle for Chris — for example, Thursday's live exchange with Shatner at CSA headquarters in Quebec. A fellow Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen, will be the host for the 10:30 a.m. ET webcast, with dozens of visiting "space tweeps" in attendance. To keep up with the conversation via Twitter, follow the hashtag #CSATweetup.

Then there's that duet with Robertson. Hadfield has already made a name for himself as the singing (and guitar-playing) astronaut, and Friday's song session seems likely to add to that reputation. The song will be posted to CBC Music, so that students across Canada can learn it in time for the annual Music Monday celebration on May 6. Check out this news release for the details — and give a listen to this CBC video clip for a preview. Farther down, you'll find a few more of the pictures Hadfield shared via Twitter:

A video clip from CBC music shows astronaut Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson preparing for the first space-plus-Earth song premiere.

Chris Hadfield / CSA / NASA via Twitter

Where the Mississippi enters the Gulf of Mexico. The soil of America's heartland forming a vast, deep delta. http://pic.twitter.com/Dctu8ipH

Chris Hadfield / CSA / NASA via Twitter

"It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... a river in South America." http://pic.twitter.com/pzBKwgwu ... Here's what Jason Major says about the image on Google+: "This view is looking west along the Rio São Francisco in eastern Brazil, Belém de São Francisco is the city at the upper right."

Chris Hadfield / CSA / NASA via Twitter

Chris Hadfield said: "This African lake is begging for me to draw a face on it. Anybody up for a Photoshop challenge?" Elisabeth Ienzi paid tribute to Charlie Brown, while Emma Dawn tweeted: "Oh, come on. That's definitely a gorilla." Hadfield said on Google+ that Dawn's gorilla was the best Twitter entry.

Chris Hadfield / CSA / NASA via Twitter

In honor of Sunday's Super Bowl, Chris Hadfield passed along this picture of New Orleans. "I can see the Superdome!" he said. Can you?

More wonderful views and music from space:


Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.