AskNASA From Space Astronauts Answer Your Questions

Station, this is Headquarters. How do you hear me? Hello Headquarters. The International Space Station has you loud and clear. Awesome. Well, this is such a pleasure. My name is Cheryl Warner in the Office of Communications. However, today I'm calling you on behalf of the Internet. We asked our followers on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA and our friends on Facebook What do they want to ask you? So, they did not disappoint. They asked thousands of questions, and I know we don't have time for all of them. But since you're ready, I'm gonna jump right in. Our first question comes from Chris on Facebook. He asks, what age did you realize you were interested in space? Chris, that's a great question. I know for me, I actually don't even remember a time when I didn't want to be an astronaut. I think like a lot of little kids, It sounds like a great thing that you want to do. And in my case, I just never grew out of it. So from the time I was young, probably even before kindergarten, I was dreaming of space and being a space explorer. And the answer is actually pretty similar for me. My mom tells me that I was five years old when I started saying I wanted to be an astronaut and my first memory of it was in the first grade. And our teacher asked us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up and I drew a picture of an astronaut in a spacesuit on the surface of the Moon, next to the flag. Kind of that iconic image that people have and just like Christina, I never stopped saying it my whole life either. Well, our next question comes from Mary on Twitter. She wants to know and maybe Jessica you can answer this, since you just got on station. Does the air feel or smell different when you're moving from the Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station? You know, there's this smell that we call the smell of space, which is really just more of the smell of the metals in their interaction with the space environment. So all the metals of the spacecraft and the space station and especially those involved with the docking compartments. So I think it was actually a pretty similar smell, with the Soyuz coming on station. And then just the other day Christina captured the HTV cargo vehicle, so it was again that same similar kind of smell that we had. I think though also I was so Overwhelmed with everything that was going on, from that whole flight and my arrival into weightlessness. And the transition into the space station. Usually my nose is very sensitive and I'm always thinking about smells. But in that first moment I actually wasn't thinking about it that much. Just getting — get docking and then coming on the space station for the first time was an absolutely incredible experience. Thank you. So Gary from Facebook asks, does the Moon look farther away from the International Space Station than it does from Earth? We are not that much closer to the Moon than you all are on the surface of the Earth, when you think about the relative distances. But the difference is that we aren't looking through the Earth's atmosphere when we look at the Moon. So the size looks about the same, but the clarity is really enhanced here and because of that, Sometimes it feels like it's closer. It definitely makes me think about the Artemis mission and looking forward to going back to the Moon in 2024. Manish from Twitter asks a great question, to follow up about the Artemis program. If you had the opportunity to go to the Moon, What would you be most interested in seeing or doing? I would love the opportunity to go back to the Moon. I think that's something that everybody in our office has been thinking about, as we start planning and moving toward these Artemis missions. I think for me just going out there exploring and adding to the scientific data set that we already have. There are so many questions that are still left unanswered from the Apollo missions. So it would be amazing to be able to contribute to those. Especially looking at the planetary geology and especially for me looking at the astrobiology type experiments. And that kind of looking for — any Any evidence looking — any of those types of experiments. I think looking at the planetary geology, especially. Awesome. So Peter from Facebook asks, which aspect of the research that you're doing aboard station today excites you most and why? I think the research onboard space station that excites me the most is twofold. One is the research that we're doing that's going to inform our future exploration deeper into space, going back to the moon and eventually on to Mars. We're studying the long duration of of spaceflight on humans and on the life-support systems that are required to support our life working and living in space. And secondly the type of research is that that goes back to benefit life on Earth. And one of the most exciting ones of that type for me, is that of pharmaceuticals in microgravity. We have the opportunity to grow crystals that may eventually be used to make better medicines for some very very important diseases on Earth. And all that is enabled by the microgravity research lab that we have around us in the International Space Station. Sounds exciting. So Jean from Facebook asks, what's your advice for young girls interested in space in science and NASA? I think the advice that I often give most young people is really to make sure that you identify what it is you're passionate about. That sounds kind of trite we say it all the time, but it really is true. I really don't think that you can really excel at something and more importantly be happy doing it if it's not something that you're really passionate about. Of course, It also takes a lot of hard work and there's some luck involved, too. I know for both Christina, and I we could have never imagined that our childhood dream would come true and the two of us would be here together, doing this event and talking to everybody else. So I think it is proof that dreams really can come true if you can identify that passion and then, of course, really work hard toward it and have things line up correctly. I think we only have time for one more question. So let's make it a fun one. Clayton from Facebook asks, how often do you take a break to stop and admire the view? Well, we do have very long workdays, 12-hour days from start to finish. Those are days that consist mostly of doing science and doing maintenance and upgrades on the space station systems. So when we do catch a break in between those activities, we may go to what I call the bay window of the space station, or what we call the cupola module. Basically, it's a series of seven windows that look down on Earth and they are amazing after work. We also can enjoy the cupola and on particularly exciting passes like when we're going over a site on the Earth that everyone's interested in, either because of a weather phenomenon or it's a place that we all know and love from home, you can often find all six or in this case nine astronauts packed into the cupola to take a peek. Jessica and Christina, thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions today. We look forward to seeing you back on Earth. Thank you. It's our pleasure to be with you today. And thanks for all the great questions from #AskNASA.