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ISS Crew Answers: Expedition Six

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Don Pettit's Answers 
Image: Expedition Six NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit
*Expedition Six NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit answered these questions via e-mail.

No. 1
From: Ron Trenkler, New York, N.Y., Age: 28

Question: What time is being used in the International Space Station, UTC/Greenwich Mean Time? Is the time being followed due to sleeping times or times of major work/projects?

Pettit: We use GMT, which is handy for international efforts between many countries.

No. 2
From: Bob Breit, Sacramento, Calif., Age: 42

Question: During an EVA, are there devices in your helmet that will take care of itches, sneezing and hydration?

Pettit: We have a drink bag and straw and a valsalva device to clear our ears. We cannot scratch our noses.

No. 3
From: Vanesa, Madrid, Spain, Age: 23

Question: What is the most interesting experiment or work that you have done on the ISS?

Pettit: Our observations of auroras are the most interesting to me.

No. 4
From: Steven Madwin, Fremont, Calif., Age: 47

Question: How much difference is there between the Russian Sokol launch and entry suit and the Orlan EVA suit?

Pettit: The Sokol suit is meant for launch and entry and uses the life support systems from the Soyuz spacecraft. The Orlan is a self-contained spacesuit that allows for spacewalks.

No. 5
From: Omar, Merritt Island, Fla., Age: 22

Question: When you do spacewalks based from the ISS, what kind of spacesuit is used, the Russian version of the EVA suits? Or have some of the space shuttle EVA suits been permanently assigned to the ISS?

Pettit: We can use either U.S. or Russian suits, depending on the tasks. All spacesuits have limited life so they are not permanently assigned to space station.

No. 6
From: T. David Griffith, Dallas, Texas, Age: 54

Question: What analytical instruments, such as chromatographs, spectrophotometers and viscometers, are currently onboard the ISS? Did they need modification for microgravity?

Pettit: We have a mass spectrometer, a gas chromatograph, freezers, ultrasound probe, accelerometers, and more on their way to orbit.

No. 7
From: Michael A. West, Martinez, Calif., Age: 54

Question: As a former P-3 air crewman, I'm interested in your safety procedures. For instance, do you conduct on-orbit emergency drills such as explosive or rapid decompression, penetrating impact of a module, evacuating a segment, etc.?

Pettit: We have safety drill practice every month including fire, depressurization, and medical emergency.

No. 8
From: Suzanne Fitzgerald, Seal Beach, Calif., Age: 35

Question: Dad says hello. My dad was one of your teachers at Oregon State University. My question is how do you avoid losing bone mass when being up in space for quite some time?

Pettit: So far, the only known way to reduce the bone density loss is to place stresses on your skeletal system on a daily basis. We do this by doing two hours of physical exercise per day, including running on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, and a resistance “weightlifting” device that uses rubber bands instead of pig iron. I am still working with your dad on CO2 and plants, and he does literature searches for me while I am on space station. Take care.

No. 9
From: Ruth Bernhardt, Plano, Texas, Age: 57

Question: When you're on the treadmill, where are the weights placed? How is it determined how much weight you use? If the weight is not the same as you weighed on Earth, will you increase the weight until it is the same about the time you'll be returning to Earth?

Pettit: We use rubber bands to hold us down on the track for the treadmill.

No. 10
From: Sally Stronczek, Vancouver, Wash., Age: 56

Question: Based on the pictures of Don Pettit, it appears that you shave in space. If so, how do you contain the materials?

Pettit: We use either a safety razor that contains the whiskers in the shaving cream, or an electric razor that captures the whiskers inside the head. I vacuum my razor out once a week.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 05/22/2003
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