It is hard to imagine a band better suited to a collaboration with an astronaut than the Barenaked Ladies.

Famously (and unabashedly) nerdy in their interests -- "I'm a space geek!" proclaims frontman Ed Robertson -- the Ladies' millions of fans often identify themselves that way, too. There's a reason, aside from the the Canadian band's knack for penning unforgettably catchy songs, that they were chosen to write and record the theme for that geekiest of TV shows, 'The Big Bang Theory.'

Perhaps that's why Cmdr. Chris Hadfield -- who recently announced his retirement from the Canadian Space Agency -- chose to get in touch with Robertson while he was floating around on the International Space Station earlier this year. He wanted to co-write and record a song, to create the first ever earth-space musical collaboration. Robertson loved the idea, but didn't quite realize how big a deal it would eventually become.

"When Chris asked me to write that song with him," Robertson explains, "I didn't think anyone would ever hear it... I thought it was just for him." But, with all of the media attention surrounding Hadfield's social-media-friendly approach to his role on the ISS, the idea didn't stay quiet for long. "It sort of took on a new life."

Funny how things work out. The collaboration with Cmdr. Hadfield was, for the Barenaked Ladies, like "one of too many spinning plates" as they tried to finish work on their just-released record Grinning Streak. "I schlepped myself down to that studio thinking: "Oh fuck, I've got so much to do!" recalls Robertson.

"And then we go into this studio and there's an excited high school choir there; the choir master's written this great vocal arrangement. Chris is on the screen, on the ISS, and everyone around is just staring in wide-eyed wonder. And all of a sudden it sort of washed over me, and I went: 'This is fucking awesome! What's happening right now is amazing!' It's one of those moments where you have to stop yourself and go: 'I'm just so fucking lucky to be here right now.'"

Interview continues after slideshow

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  • The video for "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" from the 1991 Bruce Cockburn tribute album "Kick at the Darkness."

  • Cover of the Ladies' first album, "Gordon", released in 1992. Their debut included now well-known tracks like "Enid", "If I Had $1,000,000", "Brian Wilson" and "Be My Yoko Ono."

  • From the official music video for "Brian Wilson", from 1992's "Gordon".

  • From the beginning of the "One Week" music video from "Born On A Pirate Ship", released in 1996.

  • Barenaked Ladies, photographed in West Palm Beach, Fla., in December 2000, while on the road promoting their new album, Maroon.

  • Steve Page, left, and Ed Robertson of The Barenaked Ladies arrive at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto Thursday, Sept. 21, 2000.

  • Barenaked Ladies' Steven Page performs during the Music Without Borders Live in Toronto Sunday October 21, 2001. The Barenaked Ladies have been around for 13 years now and they say it’s high time they compiled a career retrospective.

  • Kevin Hearn left, of the Barenaked Ladies speaks about having had cancer as Ed Robertson listens during a news conference prior to a benefit concert to raise money for cancer research in Vancouver Thursday Oct. 10, 2002.

  • Kevin Hearn musician and member of the Canadian band "Barenaked Ladies". He plays Keyboards amongst several other instruments including the guitar. Jan. 8, 2002

  • Premiere After-Party For A Mighty Wind

    LOS ANGELES - APRIL 14: (U.S TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Singer Jack Black (3rd L) and actor Michael Hitchcock (2nd R) pose with rock band Barenaked Ladies at the party after the premiere of 'A Mighty Wind' at the Directors Guild on April 14, 2003 in los Angeles, California.

  • 2004 Juno Awards - Show

    EDMONTON - APRIL 4: The Barenaked Ladies perform onstage at the 2004 Juno Awards at Rexall Place on April 4, 2004 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Junos celebrate excellence in Canadian music.

  • 2004 Toyota Concert Series On The Today Show With Barenaked Ladies

    NEW YORK - JULY 9: Lead singer and guitarist Ed Robertson of the band Barenaked Ladies performs at the 2004 Toyota Concert Series On The Today Show July 9, 2004 in New York City.

  • Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton, left behind, waves to supporters as he walks with local candidates Gene Lara, left, Marylin Churley at a campaign stop in Toronto Monday, Sept . 29, 2003. Steve Page of the rock group Barenaked Ladies is at right. Ontario voters are going to the polls on Oct. 2.

  • Canadian NDP Leader Jack Layton Campaigns In Ontario

    TORONTO, ON - JUNE 10: New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton (L) stands on stage with Stephen Page of the Barenaked Ladiesgives before giving a speech at a campaign rally in the race to elect the next prime minister of Canada on June 10, 2004 in Toronto, Canada. Layton's New Democrats could form a coalition government with the stumbling Liberals under current prime minister Paul Martin.

  • UK: Barenaked Ladies Play Carling Apollo

    LONDON - APRIL 29: The Barenaked Ladies perform at the London stop of their UK tour at the Carling Apollo Hammersmith on April 29, 2004 in London. Their new album, 'Everything To Everyone,' was released April 19.

  • Hockey For Heroes 3 On 3 Hockey Tournament

    UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 16: Tyler Stewart #18 of the drummer from the rock group Bare Naked Ladies participates in the Hockey for Heroes 3 on 3 Hockey Tournament on April 16, 2005 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

  • Live 8 Concert in Canada

    BARRIE, CANADA - JULY 2: Stephen Page of the Barenaked Ladies performs during the Live 8 concert on July 2, 2005 in Barrie, Canada. The goal of the Live 8 series is to raise awareness of poverty and debt relief for third world countries.

  • Live 8 Concert in Canada

    BARRIE, CANADA - JULY 2: Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies performs during the Live 8 concert on July 2, 2005 in Barrie, Canada. The goal of the Live 8 series is to raise awareness of poverty and debt relief for third world countries.

  • Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page, left, Ron Sexsmith, middle, and Leonard Cohen sing to thousands of people on Saturday, May. 13, 2006 in Toronto, Ont.

  • The New York police mugshot of BNL frontman Steven Page and his then-girlfriend, 27-year-old Christine Benedicto, after the two were arrested in New York and charged with cocaine possession in 2008. Page admitted to smoking cocaine, according to the <a href="http://www.nationalpost.com/most_popular/story.html?id=661817" target="_blank">National Post</a>. Supporters of the band rallied around him after his arrest, but the charges were eventually dropped after Page complied with bail conditions.

  • Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, and Tyler Stewart of the Canadian alternative rock band Barenaked Ladies arrive on the red carpet of the 2011 Juno Awards at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on March 27, 2011. The

  • TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 23: Canadian band Barenaked Ladies perform the national anthems prior to NHL game action between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins March 23, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson (left) and Tyler Stewart pose for a photo in Toronto as they promote their new album, Grinning Streak, on Monday May 27, 2013

  • Members of Canadian music group Barenaked Ladies Ed Robertson, left, and Jim Creeggan unveil the new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavour "If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours" during a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday, May 12, 2009. The band was forced to recover after Steven Page decided to leave the group in February of that year.

A YouTube sensation immediately upon its release, and buoyed by strong viral action across Facebook and the Twitterverse, The song ("I.S.S.") seemed to strike a chord with listeners well beyond the Ladies' established fanbase. Tyler Stewart, drummer for the band, figures this is all about Hadfield's work to connect with people while on the Space Station. "Because he was so immediate. Because they've been going up to space stations for years. Yeah, 'whatever', you know. Until something blows up nobody cares. But he reignited this worldwide obsession with space, and with wonder."

Robertson concurs, reminding us that "Chris has just been so 'engaged.' I think he really earned people's trust and respect, too, the way he put himself out there to inform people, but also [to] entertain them and inspire them. He took his time up there to communicate with people. It's just so cool that there's a folk singer in space! It's not 'robot man' up there, it's a folk singer."

Still, there can be no denying the popularity of the song itself. "I.S.S." has taken on a life well beyond those YouTube hits.

"I was so blown away by the outpouring of positive reactions," smiles Robertson. "And still people email me: 'Oh, my sister-in-law's cousin's a schoolteacher in Kanata and here's the 800 students from grade three to six singing [it]...' Somebody translated it to Cree, and here's them performing it." "There's a jazz combo," adds Stewart. "There's a university band. There's a string quartet playing it."

Above and beyond their pride in the final product, Robertson and Stewart seem genuinely awed to have worked with Hadfield. "I bet you people would say Chris Hadfield and Neil Armstrong are the astronauts they can name," suggests Robertson. "But it's 'cause [Hadfield] brought this approachability to [the ISS] and this kind of rootsy folksiness to it. You know, I said to his brother, Dave: 'He's so proficient and professional and accomplished and he's so impressive, and yet he seems like the guy who winterises your boat at the marina.'

And Dave said: 'He's that guy too, he just winterized my boat!'"

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  • Valentine

    "All the grains of sand in all the deserts can't compare to the number of ways I love you. #ValentineFromSpace"

  • Earth Art

    "If you give wind and sand enough time together, they create art."

  • Amazon

    'The incredibly green lush wetness of the Amazon basin."

  • Someone Misses Starbucks

    "These delicate cappuccino frosting decorations are, in fact, endless hummocks of Saharan sand."

  • Pop!

    'The Earth has problem skin; one popped, the other didn't."

  • It Totally Does

    "Even as I took this picture I was thinking it will make a nice desktop background. And it does."

  • Andes

    "Some fault lines are visible from space. Tectonic plates make a rift in the Andes."

  • South America

    "Tonight's Finale: Nature inspires awe - cloud, ice and rock in southern South America."

  • Mexico

    "Happy Alligator Lake, Mexico. I'm certain it has an official name, but that's what it looks like to me."

  • Haruna

    'Tonight's Finale: Haruna, a large and powerful tropical cyclone, wreaks clockwise destruction across Madagascar."

  • Africa

    "This taffy-twisted African rock reminds me of a dolphin, and Alfred Hitchcock."

  • Freetown, Sierra Leone

    "Freetown. A major west African port city, capital of Sierra Leone."

  • Sandy Musings

    "I don't think that sand came from those rocks."

  • Haggis (Well, Not Really)

    "This green Aussie lake somehow reminds me of a haggis."

  • Argentina

    "Glacial water burping into the Atlantic in deep Southern Argentina."

  • Sahara

    "Arid fingers of sand-blasted rock look like they're barely holding on against the hot Saharan wind."

  • Martian Earth

    "Mars is a very interesting planet, with its rugged, ancient surface. But this is Earth."

  • Cloud

    "Tonight's Finale: There is an undeniable beauty in human imagination. What do you see in this Saharan cloud?"

  • Oyster?

    "Your perspective often dictates what you see. From here I see a puffball on an oyster half-shell. How about you?"

  • Scaly Earth

    "Dragon skin. A bad place to take a walk, near the Horn of Africa."

  • Himalayas

    "Tonight's Finale: The Himalayas to the horizon, gives me such a feeling of wild grandeur."

  • Patagonia

    "Tonight's finale:You hear all about the man in the moon, but what about the man in Patagonia?"

  • New Zealand

    "As I look at the verdant fjords and inlets of southern NZ, I ask myself can this possibly be real? Yet there it is."

  • South Africa

    "Where there's water, there's life. Serpentine river and center pivot irrigation farms in South Africa."

  • Outback

    "A lot of the Australian Outback looks like somebody spilled something on it."

  • Quebec Crater

    "Tonight's Finale: Asteroid impact - the Manicouagan Crater in Quebec. On old scar, but a big one at 100 km across."

  • Croatia

    "Split, Croatia, a fine natural harbor on the gorgeously rugged Adriatic coast."

  • Cape Town

    "Cape Town, South Africa, the glinting sun highlighting the water."

  • Australia

    "King George's Sound, Australia. Charles Darwin got off the Beagle and hosted a dance here in February, 1836."

  • Haruna From Feb. 21

    "Eye of the Storm - Tropical Cyclone Haruna, today over Madagascar, with Canadarm2 pointing at the eye."

  • Moon Rise

    "Tonight's Finale: The full moon rises over the only planet we have ever called home."

  • Baby Bergs

    "Mama Iceberg and her litter of baby ice cubes, slowly melting into the South Atlantic Ocean."

  • Outback Faces

    "The Outback is full of scary faces, staring up in forbidding horror."

  • Aurora

    "Tonight's finale: Northern Lights - recent aurora in green and red waves, USA and Canada below, the universe above."

  • Abstract Earth

    "Clouds, shadows and sand, playing with my imagination."

  • Bellybutton

    "Earth has a bellybutton! My guess is that this perfect African circle is a meteor impact crater."

  • BONUS: Space Pajamas

    "Weightless in my new space pajamas - made in Russia, very warm and comfy."

  • Next: The ISS On Twitter

  • <blockquote>Oil drilling draws a circuit board on the ochre landscape. pic.twitter.com/piYgOCsWYQ</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Tonight's Finale: The Richat Structure. A giant gazing eye upon the Earth. pic.twitter.com/Uqv9JSh17b</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>An angry thunderstorm stands out against infinity. pic.twitter.com/du78qXnViK</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Mt Etna, pouring heat and steam and smoke up through the snowcap. Earth never ceases to amaze. pic.twitter.com/xVjJ9oiwkW</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Cloud over western Europe, rippled like water over a stone. pic.twitter.com/nlryEezlwh</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Perth on the Swan to the sea, Western Australia. pic.twitter.com/MvrIuCs8eT</blockquote>

  • Chris Hadfield In Water

  • In this photo posted on Twitter by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Jan. 7, 2013, the Greek Island of Corfu is shown. Hadfield is on a five-month visit to the space station and will become the first Canadian to take command of the giant orbiting laboratory in March. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield)

  • RE-TRANS FOR HIGHER RESOLUTION - This Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013 photo provided by NASA, taken by Astronaut Chris Hadfield from the International Space Station, shows a view of the wildfire near Burrinjuck Dam in Australia. Look closely and you can see the flames from orbit. (AP Photo/NASA, Chris Hadfield)

  • In this photo posted on Twitter by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Jan. 7, 2013, corn rows of sand, tightly sculpted by wind, heat and time is shown in Saudi Arabia. Hadfield is on a five-month visit to the space station and will become the first Canadian to take command of the giant orbiting laboratory in March. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield)

  • In this photo posted on Twitter by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Jan. 6, 2013, a Noctilucent Cloud, a rare super high altitude cloud barely visible from Earth, is seen at dawn in the mesosphere from International Space Station. Hadfield is on a five-month visit to the space station and will become the first Canadian to take command of the giant orbiting laboratory in March. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador, shot without zoom, is shown in a photo posted on Twitter by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Jan. 7, 2013. Hadfield is on a five-month visit to the space station and will become the first Canadian to take command of the giant orbiting laboratory in March. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield)

  • In this photo posted on Twitter by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on Jan. 5, 2013, the cities of Cleveland, Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit are shown. Hadfield is on a five-month visit to the space station and will become the first Canadian to take command of the giant orbiting laboratory in March. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield) (AP Photo/The Canadian Press via NASA,Chris Hadfield)