Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interviews / Astronaut Michael J. Massimino - The Sensitive Explorer


"On my first flight Duane “Digger” Carey, the pilot, was a rookie with me; we went through astronaut training together. As pilot, he doesn’t get to do any spacewalks, so he told me that he wanted to hear everything about it when I came back in—“I want to hear everything: descriptions, details—explain everything perfectly right away,” he said. So sure enough, when I come in, Digger takes my helmet off and puts it to the side. He’s staring right at me and says, “What was it like?” He’s right in my face, and I’m stuck in this spacesuit, and all I can answer is “The Earth is a planet.”

He says, “What have you been smoking inside your spacesuit?” But that was my revelation! It is strange what goes through your mind out there. Of course, I learned that the Earth was a planet when I was a little kid; “Every good mother does fine” or “My very educated mother just gave me nine pizza pies,” whatever the planet saying is. Sure, I knew that. But when you truly see it, you realize that it is not this two-dimensional home we think it is."

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