#AskLuca Archives - Astronaut Abby

Once an Earth Liaison, Always an Earth Liaison

One of the most common questions I get when I visit classrooms is if I’ve been to space. Kids want to know that they can ask me questions about space and get first-hand answers. They want to ask questions such as “How does it feel to be weightless?” or “What does it smell like in space?”

Although I do tell kids that I haven’t been to space, and probably won’t get a chance to go for at least another 10-12 years, my answer isn’t entirely disappointing. I also get to tell them that I have a very good friend who spent six months in space, and that he told me a lot about it!

Here's a picture of Luca and myself before the launch...the glass in between us is because he is in quarantine

Here’s a picture of Luca and myself before the launch…the glass in between us is because he is in quarantine

Working as Astronaut Luca Parmitano’s Earth Liaison  during his time on board the International Space Station was an amazing experience for me. I got to learn all about his life and experiences in space. Even more though, I was able to, and continue to, share everything that I learned from Luca with kids and adults around the world. During those six months I wrote blog posts updating people on the activities of Expeditions 36 and 37, I published pictures other people sent to me of the ISS (with Luca inside), and helped to get questions about space answered from space with #AskLuca.

Talking to Luca at the Marshall Space Flight Center

Talking to Luca at the Marshall Space Flight Center

I thought that once Luca came back to Earth, my job as Earth Liaison would end. Oh boy was I wrong! Despite not personally knowing anyone currently on the ISS, I now have a wealth of materials published from Luca’s time in space. When students ask me how we can talk to people in orbit, I can explain the process to them and then play them a recording from 2013 when I visited Marshall Space Flight Centers Payload Operations Control Center, or PayCom, and got to speak directly to Luca. When adults ask me whether or not being in space can feel claustrophobic, I can refer them to the blog post I wrote about Luca’s #AskLuca answer to that exact question.

I can now, and for the rest of my life, combine my passion and excitement for the future of space travel, and my future, with the knowledge and experiences of our current space program.

So what questions do you have about living in space? Please feel free to ask me below in the comment section and I will either answer with what I know or I will Ask Luca for you!

Dream Big!
Abby

#AskLuca: Final Words from the ISS

Though Astronaut Luca Partmitano’s time on the ISS has come to an end, I’m so happy to continue to connect with him for #AskLuca questions. He’s been so helpful in answering your inquiries while aboard the ISS and I think we all can agree that we’ve learned an incredible amount from his responses! This week, learn how waste is disposed of on the ISS, if Luca can see the stars, and much more!

Got a Question for Luca?

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.25.51 AMQuestion 1: Lake Como Photo

Question: Hi Luca! Above all, thank you for the fantastic work that you are doing and for the amazing pictures that you are putting up on G+. If you can, could you take a lovely picture of “my” Lake Como? Thanks and bye!

Luca’s Answer: Done! Look for it on Flickr!

Photo Credit: ESA/NASA/Luca Parmitano

“Como Lake and its enchanting villages.” – Luca Parmitano Photo Credit: ESA/NASA/Luca Parmitano

Question 2: ISS WasteScreen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.25.58 AM

Question: Hi Luca, the other evening here in Veneto, something fell from the sky that looked like a small meteorite. It happened around 2:45 a.m. Nothing was damaged and it disintegrated before hitting the ground. I was wondering if maybe one of you in the ISS threw something outside. Bye and thanks for all the work that you are doing for us. Giorgio.

Luca’s Answer: No, absolutely not! Our waste will reenter and be destroyed with the cargo ship above the Pacific ocean.

Question 3: Stars on the ISSScreen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.26.03 AM

Question: Hi, I really like looking at the pictures that you send us. Here is a question for you. It might be a bit boring. But from up there, can you see the stars? Bye, be strong and courageous for Italy.

Luca’s Answer: Certainly I can see them. The main difference is that their light doesn’t move and they are all different colors.

Question 4: Chemtrails Conspiracy TheoryScreen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.26.10 AM

Question: Hi Luca. On the “earth,” you often hear about the chemtrails conspiracy theory. From your privileged point of view, can you see anything like that? Thanks in advance.

Luca’s Answer: No, I have never seen anything like that. I tend to believe that the theory is an “urban legend.”

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.26.16 AMQuestion 5: Feelings on the ISS

Question: What was the first feeling…the first emotion that you had on this new adventure?

Luca’s Answer: Gratitude.

Credit: ESA/NASA/Luca Parmitano

Credit: ESA/NASA/Luca Parmitano

Question 6: Claustrophobia on the ISSScreen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.26.20 AM

Question: Dear Luca, every once in a while, do you suffer from claustrophobia since you are shut inside? I am serious. The fact that you are inside a capsule that spins around, against your will, how do you deal with it? Did they teach you to deal with it, or do you just not have this problem and so my question is meaningless? Thanks for everything that you are doing. Enjoy your work! Marco.

Luca’s Answer: I don’t suffer from claustrophobia and have never suffered from it.

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 10.26.25 AMQuestion 7: Book Recommendation

Question: Have you ever read “If The Sun Dies” by Oriana Fallaci? The moon is expensive. I know that. It is expensive for all of us. But no price is worth that field of grain, no price is worth that mountain peak. If it were worth it, it would be useless to go to the moon. It would be worthwhile to just stay here. So wake up. Stop being so rationale, obedient and serious! Stop losing your hair and letting it get you down how alike you all are! Rip up that piece of carbon copy paper. Laugh, cry and make mistakes.

Luca’s Answer: No, I have never read it. Maybe I will when I return to Earth.

#AskLuca: Claustrophobia on the ISS, Time Zones and More

Luca spends some of his free time using a laser tool on the ISS. Credits: ESA/NASA

Luca spends some of his free time using a laser tool on the ISS. Credits: ESA/NASA

This week’s #AskLuca features a few questions that explore some differences between life on Earth and life on the ISS. This week, questions were asked in Italian and Luca answered in Italian – fun to see Luca conversing with his native language! Fortunately I have a friend who speaks fluent Italian, Thanks Karen for translating! From thoughts on sleep to inquiries about claustrophobia, Luca answers it all right here!

Got a Question for Luca?

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

OneQuestion 1: Missing Earth?

Question: Luca, you will be in space for 6 months. Day after day, what do you miss and what are you going to miss in the future (family, food, actions that you can do on the Earth but not in space)? Thanks and have a good vacation.

Luca’s Answer: Honestly, the only thing that I miss is spending my free time with my wife and daughters. I know that I will never be able to get back the time that I spend away from them.

Question 2: Sleeping on the ISS Two

Question: On board are you on the Moscow time zone? What schedule do you keep? Do you all have the same shifts? It is hard to get used to having 16 sunrises? How do you sleep? Thanks.

Luca’s Answer: We use Greenwich time (GMT) and we all have the same shirt (usually. Sometimes there can be small differences). It isn’t hard at all; we don’t even notice. We sleep in a sleeping bag tied to a wall of our bunk.

ThreeQuestion 3: Claustrophobia

Question: You are living in space for 6 month. Don’t you suffer from claustrophobia a bit?

Luca’s Answer: It would be hard for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia to become an astronaut, but living on the Station doesn’t make you claustrophobic  if you don’t suffer from it.

Question 4: Free Time Four

Question: Hi or ciao Luca or Assambenedica Avvussia (we Sicilians understand the Sicilian dialect). I was wondering how you spend your “free” time (if you have any) in the space station? Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days, like Luca Parmitano in ….? Have a great day, Astronaut. You are the pride of Sicily and all Italy.

Luca’s Answer: We have a little bit of free time in the evening, after dinner. I spend it interacting with people back on Earth through social media sites, writing, taking pictures. Sometimes, I play the guitar or the keyboard that we have on board. My colleagues have their favorites pastimes. The Station “goes around the world” in 90 minutes.

#AskLuca: Life on the ISS

Photo Credit: ESA/NASA/Parmitano

Photo Credit: ESA/NASA/Parmitano

Ever wonder what it’s like to actually live on the ISS? Astronaut Luca Parmitano’s life on the ISS is a great one and he’s been kind enough to talk with us on Earth about his experience in orbit. This week he answers even deeper questions about how his life is aboard the ISS. From recreation to the incredible view, Luca dishes details on the incredibly unique experience he’s having right now, on the ISS!

Join the #AskLuca Experience!

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

Question 1Question 1: Missing Silence

– asked by Viviana

Question: I’m very curious to know if the total ”silence” is missing to you!! I suppose up there the loud noise it is not agreeable!

Luca’s Answer: I don’t particularly miss silence, because it’s easy to put ear plugs on, and then it’s as quiet as you want it to be.

Question 2: Sounds on the ISS

Luca, what does it sounds like in Space on the ISS? We saw a picture of you with noise cancelling headphones on and wondered what it sounded like up there?

– asked by DerekQuestion 2

 

 

Luca’s Answer: It sounds like a lot of fans going on at the same time, which is why I was wearing noise canceling headphones in the picture.

Question 3Question 3: Volcano Eruption and EarthQuakes

– asked by Micah, @mt_winston

Question: From the ISS, would you be able to see a volcano erupt? Or an Earthquake happen?

Luca’s Answer: I would certainly be able to see a volcano erupt, and as a matter of fact I took picture of one. As for an earthquake, I wouldn’t be able to see it happening, but if it was especially strong I could probably see the effects.

Question 4: Fun on the ISS

Question 4

– asked by Sean, @BardicHeart

Question: What do you do for recreation / fun on ISS? Does that include any group activities / games? How much time do you have for recreation and how important is that?

Luca’s Answer: I like to take photos or use our internet capability to connect to people, make phone calls. We do play some “space games”, like trying to float from one side of the Station to the other without hitting anything. We have some free time in the evening, though not a lot, and the half a day on Saturday. Sunday is our only day off, and it’s incredibly important.

Question 5Question 5: First Sight in Orbit

– asked by Daniel, @LogOnDan

Question: What was the first thing you saw in orbit? What was your reaction?

Luca’s Answer: The first thing I saw in orbit, while still sitting in my Soyuz seat, was a sunrise – it brought a huge smile to my face, one that is still on!

Question 6: Protection for the ISSQuestion 6

– asked by Cristiano, @crisk73

Question: How do you protect from cosmic and solar radiations since you stay in space for such a long time? Is the ISS shielded? Do you periodically monitor your body radiation exposure? Thanks and have a good stay in space!

Luca’s Answer: The orbit of the ISS is inside the magnetosphere, which is our main protection. The ISS is shielded, especially our crew quarters, where we sleep and spend at least 8 hours a day. We don’t monitor our body for radiation while on board, but we have sensors with us that we take back to earth.

#AskLuca: What Happens in Space

Superman Luca

Photo Credit: ESA/NASA

We all wonder what happens up in space, and luckily we have Astronaut Luca Parmitano to share some insights! This week we’ll take a look at a few inquiries about what goes on in space – from blowing bubbles in space to favorite foods to pretending like you’re superman… we learn new details from Luca about what’s it’s like to live in space on the  ISS  in this week’s #AskLuca!

Join the #AskLuca Experience!

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

Question 1Question 1: Bubbles in Space

– asked by Seth, @neak1

Question: Hi Luca, I am seth and I am 7 years old and from New Zealand. I was wondering if you can blow bubbles in space?

Luca’s Answer: Hello Seth, you sure could, if you had a bubble blower. The atmosphere on the Station is  the same as on the ground, so, with the right soap, you can make bubbles.

Question 2: Thoughts in SpaceQuestion 2

– asked by Katrina 

Question: What sorts of things go through your mind while you look out the window and see our spec in the universe from a perspective not very many people have seen? Do you feel awestruck often while being in space?

Luca’s Answer: Hello Katrina: I have tried to answer this question many times, and I even wrote a blog about it. It’s really hard to convey the feelings you get from watching our magnificent planet from orbit. I can tell you for sure, though, that you never get used to it.

Question 3Question 3: Debris in Space

– asked by Daniel, @danielgbbns

Question: With all the debris orbiting Earth, how is it none of it hits the ISS? And if this is a possibility, how, and how often, do you maneuver out of the way? Thanks!

Luca’s Answer: Hi Daniel, although it is true there are a lot of debris orbiting Earth, they are mostly on different orbits, so our paths never cross. The are tracked from ground through radars, and if there is even the possibility to cross path, we just change our speed, which in turn changes our orbit, thus eliminating the problem.

Question 4: Food and FlyingQuestion 4

– asked by James 

Question: What food do you wish you had up there? Do you ever pretend you’re superman when you fly around?

Luca’s Answer: The only thing I really miss, if we talk about food, is a real Italian espresso coffee. And yes, I pretend to be superman all the time :)