Caitlin Baum, Huntsville, Ala., age: 17
What physical effects have you noticed since being in space for
I think the main thing I have noticed is that I feel much more at home
here, I'm able to move around with ease. I keep my orientation
generally upright and move around even using my feet to move from
place to place instead of using handholds like I did the first
month or so while I was up here. It's very interesting how your
body adapts to space and you become a real space person after
a period of months.
Chris Kominczak, Houston, Texas, Age: 14
What is the most difficult part of operating Canadarm2?
Probably the most difficult part of it is not the physical
operation of the arm, but it's integrating all the information
that we have to put together in order to execute the operations
with the arm that we have to do. That includes using video rather
than actually viewing what the arm is doing. We don't have good
views out the window of what the arm is doing most of the time,
so we have to rely on three monitors where we can get different
views of the arm. While the shuttle is here we have a great overview,
but when it's not here we only have two cameras that are mounted
on the arm itself, so we have limited views that we can use. It
requires the integration of a lot of different information and
different views to operate it completely.
Dr. Alastair Pirie, Victoria, B.C. Canada
Has your time aboard the station altered your philosophical outlook
concerning the significance of our existence?
Being on board the International Space Station is a lot
like some of the other experiences that we have in life where
we go different places, such as scuba diving or mountain climbing
where your perspective on the world is changed somewhat, you're
seeing it in a different way, but for me it has not really changed
my philosophical outlook -- it remains the same. It only changes
the perspective with which I Iook at our Earth.
Craig Jackson, Bakersfield, Calif.
I would like to know if any of you were influenced in your career
choice by the reading of science fiction books in your youth.
Were you inspired by such authors as Robert Heinlein, Arthur C.
Clarke, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Harry Harrison, or (Russians)
Stanislaw Lem and other Soviet-bloc science fiction writers? Also,
were any of you inspired to choose your career by movies or television
shows featuring space travel and futuristic themes, such as "Outer
Limits" or "Star Trek?"
For myself, we didn't have a space program when I was young,
and science fiction was my only contact with planets and space
travel and things like that. In fact, I did read Robert Heinlein,
Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and they were an inspiration to
me because I thought what a wonderful kind of job to have in the
future, to be a person who travelled to different planets and
explored like that. So it was an early influence on me and later
when we did have a space program I thought that it would be a
great career choice and I pursued that for several years before
I finally was allowed to become an astronaut.