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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Grand Views of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is simply amazing when viewed from an orbital perspective. You instinctively recognize it, even though you have never seen it from this vantage point before. Somehow, your brain can warp all those vacation memories from visiting the South Rim into something recognizable. But the amazement doesn’t stop there. Sometimes your brain can play ...Keep Reading

Candid and the Camera

For my Soyuz launch, I had worn a standard Shuttle diaper with two inserts for extra absorption. (I have found it advantageous to add a little extra in certain places—in weightlessness, urine will creep around under the guise of capillary action and find your long underwear.) Still, we were in our spacesuits for over 12 hours, and that’s a long ...Keep Reading

Gone for the Season

Being absent for the holidays is collateral damage for an explorer, whatever the location. In Antarctica, the short Antarctic summer is when most exploration happens, and this falls over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays. Maybe you can get home by Valentine’s Day; it is best to arrive bearing flowers, chocolate, and a smile. Family life can be tough ...Keep Reading

The Pieces Come Together

Four days ago our rocket was in pieces, scattered across the floor of the assembly building. Like anxious parents checking on their sleeping children, we took one last peek inside our Soyuz spacecraft. Everything was tucked in where it should be. Three days ago the pieces started to come together, like giant blocks from a Lego set. Two days ago ...Keep Reading