On 30th July, ISU held its Astronaut Panel. We asked the public to get in touch with us though social media channels, mainly Twitter and ask some questions. We were overwhelmed with responses and had to select some of the best questions. Bob Thirsk, former Canadian Space Agency astronaut kindly has answered the following:
Q: What is something you regret not packing with you for life in orbit?
A: “If it had been possible, I would’ve brought along some house plants to ‘green up’ the ISS. The interior looks pretty stark and sterile.”
Q: With successful missions with rovers and the ISS for long term stays in space, what’s the benefit for men to visit Mars?
A: “Humans on Mars could complement and enhance the wonderful prior work of robotic rovers. Humans have amazing dexterity, speed and judgment.”
Q: What is your favourite thing to do in Space? Amelia age 8
A: “1. Flying about like Superman. 2. Viewing our beautiful planet through the windows. 3. Chatting with my wonderful crew mates.”
Q: How much of your day is new or novel to you vs repetitive? Feel like a grad student/”lab monkey”?
A: “There is no such thing as a repetitive or routine day in space. We gladly volunteer our time to push back the frontiers of science.”
Q: Is the weightlessness of space the same feeling as falling?
A: “Yes, weightlessness is theoretically like falling. But it is a unique sensation – it feels more like flying or hovering than falling.”
In 2009, CSA Astronaut Robert Thirsk became the first Canadian to perform a long-duration mission on board the International Space Station. These videos present key aspects of his mission, including his training and the Canadian science he conducted.
Many thanks to Bob for giving us his time to answer these questions for us.