View Full Version : Book Review: Sky Watching

2006-Mar-27, 07:36 AM
SUMMARY: Walking a mile in another person's shoes will give you a great impression of their life and possibly a pair of sore feet. Feet can even get sore while walking in the zero gravity of space, as Tom Jones relays in his memoirs entitled, Sky Walking. His days as a NASA astronaut fill the pages while he recounts his training, missions and follow-up debriefing. His shoes, like everyone else's on this planet, are unique. But for those wanting a taste of space adventure, these shoes are especially good to read about.

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2006-Mar-28, 12:16 AM
I'm always amazed when I have a read of the astronaut biographies (http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/). These people manage to fit so much into a relatively short few years.

I haven't read this yet but am interested to know if there's any discussion of how to regalvanise the public from an astronaut's point of view? Is it something they sit around the water cooler and talk about?

2006-Mar-28, 06:27 PM
Josh asked about ways to build public excitement in space exploration. My opinion:
-- continue robotic exploration of Mars and the solar system, especially to the nearby asteroids and Moon, as precursors to human journeys
-- conduct early test flights of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, using a boilerplate "capsule" and the new booster configuration, from one of the shuttle pads. This will generate anticipation of eventual crewed flights, and build confidence in the reality of the system and its reliability. Fly the first one -- uncrewed -- by 2008.
-- revamp space station operations overtly toward research obviously connected with exploration -- hardware tests, processing of asteroidal material (meteorites, for example) into usable resources, and astronaut productivity and health.
-- put returning Station astronauts into a month-long Mars analog exploration simulation, say in Antarctica or the Canadian arctic.
-- connect NASA's exploration plans to the practical payoff of learning how to divert Near Earth Objects from Earth impact trajectories. This is a vital mission that the public would quickly endorse, a common-sense component of Homeland Security.
-- with every remaining shuttle launch, discuss how the shuttle will be giving way to a new vehicle, and highlight the changes at the Cape and in Houston that visibly support the next generation of exploration. Make it real and photogenic.
-- momentum is key. Keep a fast-paced series of robotic, CEV, and new launch vehicle missions in the news, so that milestones are continually set and achieved.

More details are in Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir. Thanks for the question.
Tom Jones