Astronauts are Otherworldly?

  1. AlexH

    AlexH Well-Known Member

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    I haven't met an astronaut (to my knowledge), but does anyone else think astronauts seem 'different' to the rest of us? I love watching them being interviewed - the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Chris Hadfield, Helen Sharman and Tim Peake - most say that experience of seeing Earth from up there changes them, but does it change them to a normal observer like me? Does anyone else feel the same, or am I projecting my own wide-eyed wonder onto them?

    They usually come across as smiley and likeable people (which I imagine is a prerequisite, given the time you have to spend in close proximity to other people). I think Helen Sharman said she didn't get "the Overview Effect", but it did change her perspective on what is important.

    Yesterday I saw Tim Peake's descent module at Bradford's Science & Media Museum (and did the VR experience of the descent).
     
  2. Dennis E. Taylor

    Dennis E. Taylor Formerly Bizmuth. Destroying Worlds Since {mumble}

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    If you were the type of person who wouldn't be affected by being in space, I'd imagine you'd have no interest in going in the first place. Probably go into politics instead.
     
  3. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    With Swiss television I worked on a film with Claude Nicollier (Swiss astronaught who rode with NASA, working with the articulated arm, particularly on the Hubble telescope. Chattered quite a bit with him (mixed Amerloc and Français) and liked him as a person, but you have to be a fanatic about spaceflight to get that far. As I can hold my own in such discussions this was no particular problem, but I'm not sure how well it would have worked had I been interested in angling or flower arrangement. Just getting into the team is a very tight filter - nobody who wasn't massively specialised could get that far and a whole lot who hadn't got what it takes are just as over the top - Space is probably as close to being addictive as the Chrons.
     
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  4. LordOfWizards

    LordOfWizards Well-Known Member

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    What chrispenycate said. In particular, the part about being highly driven/motivated to become specialized enough for that career. It is definitely a unique set of requirements, and I would imagine being 'like-able', or rather socially adept would be critical. I believe the experience of looking out the portal at Earth would be awe inspiring, humbling, etc.

    I heard a comedian saying that it could be a winning story to tell at social events. While others are telling stories about going to foreign countries and such, all an astronaut has to say is "I visited the International Space Station in orbit, and looked down on the Earth", or even, "I walked on the moon". :)
     
  5. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    I've personally met Andrew J. Feustel: however it was before he accomplished his mission with the Hubble telescope repairs.
    I do know from the conversation that they are expected to do public relation work such as he was doing that day by meeting with us, so what you are seeing might be more of a requirement in the candidates as they are being groomed for the job.

    He gave us all a quite lengthy presentation and then we took him to lunch where we all got to pump him for more information about him and his job with NASA and his personal life.

    An interesting note is that his specialty is geology and he'd love to go to the Moon or Mars.
    However he was chosen for the Hubble repair because of his hobby which was restoring old cars and having made his own tools for the job; so I'm not so sure about the specialization being that large a factor in respects to how they appear in public and in the public eye. They go through rigorous training no matter what the specialty and that might have a greater impact on their general demeanor.
     
  6. AlexH

    AlexH Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that was a requirement back in the 60s though (maybe 70s, 80s and 90s too?) and I get the same feeling whatever their era.

    It is interesting that such a hobby helped get him the job - I've always believed having certain hobbies can pay off (I think mine have helped in my own work too).
     
  7. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    Alex - recommended.


    [​IMG]
     
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