I recorded this at SUNY Purchase.


fun timez~

Hello everyone.  This is NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson ready to answer your questions about being an astronaut, mission training, and what it’s like to live in space.

Have a question for me? Ask it here, then watch the answers here.

Peggy Whitson checking on a soybean plant in the ISS. Experiments like these are not only important to research biological processes in space and experiment with food production in space stations, they also give the astronauts an opportunity to see plants again. That might seem trivial, but when you are hurling in a metal box through space, it is nice to encounter something living and green.

Photo Source: NASA2Explore

The Sokol Suit

The launch and entry suit that we wear in the Soyuz is called a Sokol.  It would protect us in case of a depressurization of the vehicle. During dynamic phases of flight (launch, entry and docking to the station), we wear the suit…but luckily, for the rest of the two days before docking, we will be able to just wear a flight suit.

The suit has an inner bladder that serves as the leak tight barrier, but first we have to get into the suit (pull up the legs first and put arms in next, and then with some ducking, shrugging and grunting, put my head through the helmet ring).  

The hole that we got into the suit through, then has to be sealed.

We fold the heavy rubber-like plastic together and wrap some very sophisticated rubber bands around it, then lace and zip up the outer covering.  

Since the suit is designed to be “comfortable” while lying on your back with your knees up nearly to your chest, it is difficult to walk in, without looking a bit like a Neanderthal (shoulders rounded, with a large space on the back side). Do not judge the size of my backside by the Sokol suit…it really isn’t THAT big.  

It’s a U.S. Record! Cumulative Days in Space: 383

Today, Astronaut Scott Kelly has broken the record for longest time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut! Over the course of his four missions, Kelly has spent 383 cumulative days in space. This record was previously held by Astronaut Mike Fincke, with 382 days in space over three flights. Here are some more fun facts about this milestone:

  • 4: The number of humans that have spent a year or more in orbit on a single mission
  • 215 Days: The record currently held by Mike Lopez-Alegria for most time on a single spaceflight by U.S. astronaut. On Oct. 29, Kelly will break this record
  • 377 Days: The current record for most days in space by a U.S. female astronaut, held by Peggy Whitson
  • 879 Days: The record for most cumulative days in space by a human, currently held by Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka

Why Spend a Year in Space?

Kelly’s One-Year Mission is an important stepping stone on our journey to Mars and other deep space destinations. These investigations are expected to yield beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.

Kelly is also involved in the Twins Study, which consists of ten separate investigations that are being conducted with his twin brother, who is on Earth. Since we are able to study two individuals who have the same genetics, but are in different environments for one year, we can gain a broader insight into the subtle effects and changes that may occur in spaceflight.

For regular updates on Kelly’s one-year mission aboard the space station, follow him on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com