Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.

Latest Posts

This Sporting Life

I was wired up last week and I don’t mean with adrenaline or caffeine. I had the blood pressure cuffs on my fingers (my crew mate Oleg was calling me Robo Joe) and the 10-lead holter monitor on my chest. The week ended up again with more urine samples and a blood draw. One thing this week has taught me ...Keep Reading

From the Diary of a Space Zucchini: An Excuse

Me and my “Buds” have been busy working on our mission together with our animal crewmates over the past two months. On our mission, we have taken nearly 250,000 images, about one quarter of all those taken over the previous 11 years. I have been faithfully making entries into my diary but due to the quantity of our image data ...Keep Reading

Fragile Oasis - My Orbital Perspective

"We are all spinning around the same thing, all cyclical turning,around this notion that we could love, and be complete." Every night I looked out through the same window, the tree-line high against the ravenblue sky. I'd sit, ritualistically like a teenage monk practicing a mysterious ceremony. Half-lotus on my low futon bed, a pen and blank book to one ...Keep Reading

In My Spare Time: A Weekend With A Freezer

I asked if I could use one of the research freezers for a weekend during my off-duty time. I made thin sheets of water (sort of like a soap film without the soap), about 1 mm thick and froze them. Then I looked at the ice under polarized light using the laptop display as the light source for one direction ...Keep Reading

The Overview Effect and Cognitive Dissonance

When a delusional killer shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords during a campaign event in Tucson, Arizona last year, her husband’s twin brother, Scott Kelly, was commanding a mission on the International Space Station. When asked about the incident by the news media, he said something to the effect that the Earth looked beautiful and serene from orbit, but it was “not ...Keep Reading

A Poem for Saturday: Embrace Me, May 5, 2003

Oh Mother Earth, embrace me with all of your weight. I am pressed into your bosom and like Atlas, I carry the World’s load. I leave the comforts of an orbital womb and am born a second time. Expedition 6 crewmates Ken Bowersox, Nikolai Budarin and I leaving the International Space Station in the Soyuz TMA-1 capsule that brought us ...Keep Reading

A Poem for Saturday: Helen of Earth

Helen of Earth. An Alien force, smitten by the sight of Earth. Stunning occipital pleasure, with a face of such beauty. As to launch a thousand ships, laying siege to our planet, until they can take her as their own. The Kamchatka Coast photographed from the International Space Station 23:27 GMT March 15, 2012. Click for a bigger image.Keep Reading

The Orbital Perspective of Nicholas Kristof

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof was in in the thick of things during the chaotic days of August 2011 that resulted in the Fall of Tripoli. He stood in Libya’s capital city reporting on events as they unfolded. Nick Kristof in Tripoli, Libya August 23, 2011 At the same time, and on the same day, I floated in the ...Keep Reading

Astronomy: The Overview Effect for The Rest of Us

Astronomers Without Borders, an organization I founded in 2007, is based on a simple truth – when we look up at the sky, no matter where we are, we know others are doing the same thing from other countries around the world. At similar latitudes the sky is identical regardless of where you are. And we all share the same ...Keep Reading

From the Diary of a Space Zucchini: Fresh Air

March 20 There was a time where I had no memory; I thought this must be the Great Compost. Since waking I heard Gardener talking to me about what happened. We were transplanted once again into new plastic bags. Our stems and roots were trimmed. Our water diet was replaced with a new tea, one that is not salty. Our ...Keep Reading