The Romans took their bearings from the templum, a symbolic heaven, a circle split by a cross, with the priest's divination tent at the centre. The templum, or temple, gave the diviner a sense of where he stood in relation to the world, the universe, mortality, the gods, the infinite -- what literary analysts call the sublime. The circular templum is reminiscent of a starscape turning about Polaris, the source of all navigation. Why is there such a link between our dreams, our maps, our farthest reach, and reminders of our insignificance? Some call it divine purpose, man's search for meaning. Others are content to say that the tinier they are in a defiantly non-Ptolemaic, even Lovecraftian universe, the grander the sights, the farther and more daring the voyages. And voyages are more worthwhile for the process than for the destination. An infinite starscape whispers of eternal journeys, as if Einstein tapped into a different kind of truth when he told us that time and space went hand in hand.

I've sat down in a templum and pondered my place in things, in a dozen ways, but one that gets me every time is this. Versions of this astronaut singing this song have reached tens of millions of views. I've been known to listen to this song on repeat for an hour, or use it to get my daughter to sleep. Maybe it'll seem childish to me when I crack thirty, but until that moment comes, this song means something to me, and I've wondered why that might be.

I suspect you could write a book on all the reasons that video took off. It's sort of a perfect storm of factors. But fundamentally, I think the biggest reason is that he took what we all forgot we wanted to be - an astronaut: famous, skilled, quintessentially free - and made us feel about it again like we felt before it got boring. He showed us that being in space really was just as remarkable as we thought it was when we were kids, reminded us of dreams we'll never achieve - and yet we still love it, because he made that childhood dream-space accessable again, emotion included. And he did it with no suspension of disbelief whatsoever. Astronaut. As a child it's an emotional concept. As an adult it's sort of a bloodless abstract with echoed grumblings of 'maybe I coulda been, but why's it matter, nothing's as good as you dream it to be when you're a kid.' Hadfield broke that wide open when he told us that it's not just myopic scientists and scheming military researchers who want to go to space while millions starve. That there's a reason, and maybe it's too complicated for laymen to understand ninety percent of the time, but it's a reason that at least one real person can care about.

So I write Jorus Merrill, the man who can jump to hyperspace powered by nothing but soul. The man who can get outside galaxies, take people to places they never imagined -- the man whose life's work is to make people free of limitation. Hyperlanes, faster drives, FTL mass transit, cheap accessible starships, resistance against oppression. Because I like to think if I got out there on the long journey, I'd want to bring everyone with me so they could see what I see.