Brad Pitt asks NASA astronaut: Who was better – me or Clooney?

By Brian Pascus

/ CBS News

Academy Award nominated actor Brad Pitt called into the International Space Station and spoke with astronaut Nick Hague on Monday, in a conversation that was carried by NASA Television. Pitt plays an astronaut in his newest film, "Ad Astra," which will be released nationwide on Friday. The International Space Station crew previewed the film a few weeks ago.

"Station, this is Brad, how do you hear me?" the actor asked upon receiving confirmation from NASA for a voice check.

"Hey Brad, this is Nick. I've got you loud and clear. Welcome to the International Space Station," Hague said, speaking into a microphone but floating in zero gravity aboard the spacecraft. Hague is a NASA astronaut and U.S. Air Force colonel.

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During the 20-minute conversation, the two touched on a variety of topics connected to space exploration. Pitt asked multiple questions that centered around how astronauts keep their body clocks consistent, the makeup of living quarters on the International Space Station, the psychological aspects of being isolated from humanity in outer space, and what repercussions the body experiences from being in a zero-g environment for an extended period of time.

LIVE NOW: There's an incoming call … from space! 👨‍🚀 @AstroHague is talking to #AdAstra actor Brad Pitt about what it’s like to live and work aboard the @Space_Station. Watch: https://t.co/yQzjEx1tr8

— NASA (@NASA) September 16, 2019

"It is an amazing orchestration of an international program that comes together to truly achieve something that we can't do alone," Hague told Pitt. "And it's through that strength and diversity, strength through diversity, that we're able to successfully operate this station for two decades."

Hague said astronauts follow Greenwich Mean Time as their clock, use different hues of the color spectrum to keep their circadian rhythm consistent, and work a 12-hour workday. He also spoke of the remarkable collaboration between the various countries who have astronauts aboard the space station.

"Our international partners do a great job of making really hard, almost impossible things look routine," Hague said. "For me, that is the biggest thing I've pulled from this mission, is that cooperation at a global scale is what's going to propel humanity into the future."

Pitt also asked Hague what current projects he's working on up there. Hague told the actor that he's nearly completed a 200-day mission limit and and is expected to return home to Earth in early October. He said his work includes science experiments, maintenance to the space station, space walks, developments of new kinds of rubber, and gene editing. They also talked about the upcoming Artemis Project to the moon, which will land the first woman on the moon.

At one point Pitt joked with Hague and asked who was more believable playing an astronaut, himself or George Clooney? (Clooney, a close friend of Pitt's, starred in the 2013 space film "Gravity.")

Hague responded with laughter and affirmed Pitt was the better astronaut.

"Nick, thank you so much, it's been an absolute pleasure, a real dream of mine," Pitt told Hague. "I can't wait to brag to my kids."

Hague thanked Pitt for "contributing to the mission of awareness" and "lighting that fire in the imaginations of that next generations of explorers."

"What you're doing with storytelling to inspire the next generation is so critical to the success of our programs in the future," Hague told Pitt. "My generation—I am not going to be the person that steps foot on Mars, but the children that are watching your movie, those young adults that are watching your movies are going to be the ones inspired to achieve great things."

First published on September 16, 2019 / 2:07 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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