Only one podcast this week, but a good one from the National Air and Space Museum on what it takes to become an astronaut today. If you’re of an advancing age like me and still hold out hope that NASA might have a job for you, take a listen.
Author: Ariel Waldman
Title: What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There
Publication Info: Chronicle Books (2016)
I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.
One of my favorite science writers, Ariel Waldman, collects anecdotes and quotes from astronauts about their experience in space in a small, illustrated coffee table book. Did you know that one cannot burp in space? And while farting is possible, it is not possible to propel oneself in microgravity using only flatulence. There’s a lot of bits about “functions” such as eating, sleeping, and excreting in space. But there are also more inspirational stories such as an astronaut not wanting to sleep so as to not miss a moment of the mission or the experience of watching the Earth rotate beneath one’s feet while on a spacewalk. It’s a fun, charming, and colorful that’s a quick read, and especially enjoyable if you’ve ever wanted to go to space.
Author: Chris Hadfield
Title: An astronaut’s guide to life on earth
Publication Info: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Co., 2013.
Like many people I was charmed by Chris Hadfield’s social media presence on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube et al during his time as commander aboard the International Space Station in 2012-13. So I was pleased to read his autobiography to learn more about the man who reignited my fascination with space exploration. Hadfield was among the first astronauts selected by the Canadian Space Agency and prior to his time aboard the ISS he flew on two space shuttle missions. Hadfield describes the hard work he put in to become (and remain) an astronaut, his willingness to learn to do just about anything, and the necessity of working in a team. A frequent refrain in this book is “being an astronaut is a whole lot more than going to space (although that part is really awesome)” as he relates the significant time spent training and preparing (and sometimes learning skills he may never use, but made him more versatile) as well as public appearances to promote the space program. Hadfield the memoirist seems as delightful as Hadfield the social media star, and I enjoyed reading this book.
Recommended books: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon by Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Jay Barbree, Howard Benedict, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jeffrey Kluger, James Lovell, and The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe,