Fragile Oasis

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

Don Pettit, who has lived in space for 370 days during three missions, is known as Mr. Wizard, Mr. Fixit, and as Dad. He's a chemical engineer, an Eagle Scout, and an explorer on earth and in space. He is ...

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Close Shave

I have never been able to shave with a safety razor without slicing my face, so I use a rotary electric razor instead. In weightlessness they work just as well, and the whiskers are captured inside the shaving head. But how does one clean out the whiskers in weightlessness? In March 2001, Jim Voss, Expedition 2 flight engineer, shaves with ...Keep Reading

The Eye of Issyk Kul

Kyrgyzstan is wedged in the mountainous wrinkles between Kazakhstan and China, created long ago when the land mass we now call India, propelled by plate tectonics, slammed into the Asian plate. Living there are a proud people with a rich history, surrounded by natural, high-altitude beauty. Click for a larger image of Issyk Kul Out of numerous Kyrgyz lakes, one ...Keep Reading

The Sweet Smell of Molecules

A vacuum is a condition that is nearly devoid of molecules, and space is a molecular desert that makes the Empty Quarter of the Saudi Arabian peninsula seem like an oasis in comparison. But the space vacuum still has some molecules—residue from galactic processes, solar wind or atomic detritus spalled off from our atmosphere. And molecules, typically floating in the ...Keep Reading

The Terminator

Twice a year, near the winter and summer solstices, the orbit of the International Space Station nearly parallels the terminator—the fuzzy line separating day from night on the surface below. For a period of about a week, we live in what seems like perpetual twilight, being in neither full daylight nor full night. Our orbit follows the terminator, so that ...Keep Reading