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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Thomas on Explorers

In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Andy Thomas talks about exploration.

He says he considers the Mir astronauts explorers, because "seeking new knowledge is exploration." However, Thomas says, " . . . I don't see myself in the same league as . . . [for example,] Lewis and Clark . . . or the people that explored the Antarctic and the Arctic regions, because when they went off on those very courageous journeys, they went by themselves."

Thomas says the earlier explorers had a lot of support, but "once they had gone, they were gone. They were alone." And he compares them to today's astronauts. "When we do these kinds of flights, it's true we're alone up there, but we have radio communications to a huge group of people down here . . . to provide assistance in the event something goes wrong . . . So in that sense we're not alone . . ."

Related Links:

Thomas Increment
Profile: Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas Oral History (PDF)
Mission Control Center - Moscow
Lucid on Being an Astronaut

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty