Today was the Nasa Social @NASASocial (previously NASA Tweetup) event with astronaut Joe Acaba @AstroAcaba, at NASA Headquarters in DC. I went with my husband. This is our third NASA Social. We were a tad bit late for this event. DC traffic got to us, not to mention I'm 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Even looking at the clock reading 9:58 am and knowing the event would start promptly at 10:00am, we were determined to get there.
When we finally got to the headquarters and sat quietly in the back and were able to catch some of Mr. Acaba's presentation about his four months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). From the NASA event website,"Acaba launched to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft May 15. He spent 123 days aboard the orbiting laboratory as a flight engineer of the Expedition 31 and 32 crews. He returned to Earth Sept. 17 after four months off the planet."
After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions and answers, and many of the attendees asked great questions. Mr. Acaba spent most of his time in the copula. He was the sole US crew member aboard the craft, with two Russians cosmonauts. He said his Russian isn't that good. In the presentation we saw that there was exercising aboard the ISS, which he would do in his free time. He talked about working the robotic arm and supporting two of his crewmates during their space walk. He worked on scientific research experiments and preformed maintenance aboard the ISS. He also gave insight into skills for becoming an astronaut. He said that we are all scientists if we have asked a question and the mission involved improvising, as planning for things to work a certain way, don't always go that way and studying hard. Mr. Acaba also spoke about working on a car and working using your hands. He also said he is not a fault if we take apart our parents car.
He was very informative and had a great sense of humor. He spoke about losing his spoon on the first day and that things float away. Upon his return to Earth he mentioned that it was hard to walk for the first week (gotta love gravity) and that the astronauts plan to land on the ground but they do partake in water survival training. Mr. Acaba made many points about the future of the space program, in one instance he said, "We are looking at going further than we've ever been." He included that he sees in the future, we'll be walking on Mars and living there.
@MsLinda22 asked Mr. Acaba a question from one of her twitter followers about seeing the effects of climate change from space. My ears perked up when I heard that question. His response was that we are not seeing climate change in real time, but comparing pictures from space taken from the ISS years ago to now, do show that the Earth is warming. "It's easy to see from space where everything is interconnected," he stated. Mr. Acaba also answer questions in Spanish.
The goodie bag included a paper NASA Smallsat, which you can cut out and transform to make it into a cube. We also received an autographed portrait of Mr. Acaba, an information bookmark, a little booklet about space, a NASA sticker, a sticker of the Expedition 32 Patch and a pin of the same expedition. Like I said before, this is our third NASA social event. The ones we attended have all been at the NASA Headquarters in DC. In the near future we hope to attend the social events at other locations like Florida, Virginia and possibly California. I enjoy the events because they give you a behind the scenes look at some of the operations at NASA and allows you to connect with astronauts and people who have the same interest as you. We also hope to participate in more after the Social meetups. If you'd like to catch this event, NASA has the recording on their Youtube page.
For more about the NASA Social events, check out this link.
For more about Astronaut Joe Acaba, click here.
These are my other NASA Social blog entries.
STS-135 in DC
Astronaut Ron Garan
During the Presentation.
The lights are on!
Astronaut Joe Acaba.
Me and my big belly.
Thanks to @NASASocial and all who makes these events possible. Had a wonderful time!
***UPDATE*** I had my beautiful baby girl Dec 13!!!! She's into astronomy and knew she wanted to come during the Geminid meteor shower ;-)