‘Teamwork makes the dream work in spaceflight”, said astronaut Mark Kelly, who learned this from someone smart. “And spaceflight is the biggest team sport there is,” he added. Mark’s long ride has also brought us closer to the dream of long duration space flight.
As Kelly completed his year in space aboard the International Space Station, orbiting at 250 miles high, from March of last year to March of this year, we can be sure that he will be asked for more wisdom like this—our man of longest spaceflight travel—to show us what it will take to make such flights possible. The data from Mark is invaluable and we owe him our gratitude for his contribution and sacrifice.
One thing we know, astronauts have their humorous side too, as seen in this ‘gorilla in space’ caper:
Putting ourselves in Mark’s place, let’s look at his daily environment. The Station is a collection of modules and solar arrays and is, overall, the size of a football stadium. The narrow working quarters, and even smaller sleeping rooms, require that you would see and interact with the other astronauts. There are usually six on board. Their daily schedule includes lists of experiments that are best done in zero gravity.
Recall a similar condition when you went away, although not as far apart from home as Mark. Was it summer camp? To college, a new job, or relationship? How did you make it work with others in your new environment?
How would you make spaceflight survivable for you?
What would you take along on a long ride into space?
Let me hear from you! Your answers could influence what we need to consider when packing for Mars!
Photo courtesy NASA