A commander comes down back to Earth and rolls.

tagoot

Senior Member
Japanese
A commander comes down back to Earth and rolls.
Chris Hadfield - Space Oddity lyrics

This is from the lyric of “Space oddity” played by Chris Hadfield actually on the ISS.

In the original lyric of “Space oddity” by David Bowie, Captain Tom loses connection with the ground control and gets lost.
I understand that commander is a commissioned rank in the US Navy or one who holds this rank. What does “roll” mean here? Is he destined to have a different outcome? This kind of ambiguous verbs always trouble me. What is your take on this? Thank you in advance.
 
  • tagoot

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    heypresto, thank you very much. That was a most enlightening comment.
    Here it's 'A commander comes down back to Earth and knows',[...].
    Does ‘A commander’ mean Major Tom? I didn’t know you refer to yourself as ‘a so-and-so’. What does he ‘know’? It is unclear from the context. Might it mean that he is sure of his succeeding in coming down back to earth?

    I might be asking too much of you, but I would appreciate if you would give me advice.
     

    fiercediva

    Senior Member
    American English
    heypresto, thank you very much. That was a most enlightening comment.


    Does ‘A commander’ mean Major Tom? I didn’t know you refer to yourself as ‘a so-and-so’. What does he ‘know’? It is unclear from the context. Might it mean that he is sure of his succeeding in coming down back to earth?

    I might be asking too much of you, but I would appreciate if you would give me advice.
    It's actually "Our commander comes down back to earth, and knows" -- I would say that he is referring to himself in the third person, as an astronaut who has successfully completed missions, unlike Bowie's unfortunate Major Tom.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The author of the analysis of the lyrics at the link I posted above says this about this line: "But while Bowie's Major Tom was a first-time space traveler and thus allowed to be somewhat nervous, Hadfield is a seasoned astronaut with countless hours of spaceflight under his belt. Like an airline pilot, there are certain base level of confidence and competence we expect from him."

    This seems pretty plausible.
     

    tagoot

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    fiercediva, heypresto, thank you very much.

    Now it’s clear. ‘[…], and knows’ means that this Captain Tom has what it takes to be a seasoned astronaut, doesn’t it?

    Thank you again for taking your precious time to answer my question.
     
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