It turned out that the time Dr. Nicholas Patrick had actually spent flying in space had accounted for only .6 percent of his total time as an astronaut! However, the way he spent 1/3rd of his time was something he found just as satisfying -- engineering.
Could there be a faster way to discover interesting galactic neighbors? Is there some scheme for detecting aliens that might work quicker than tuning in their radio transmissions or hunting down their laser pulses?
"The thing I want people to take away is the example of international collaboration that created and built the space station. It's just awe-inspiring."
What kept me going was the knowledge that on Wednesday, the day after my last midterm, Mars would be at its closest to the Earth all year.
Only one week of classes stands between Boston University's student body and spring break, and the halls are ringing with the ever-popular question, "Where are you going?"
As someone who likes to think they have a pretty good imagination, I've always had a lot of fun with pareidolia, the fancy, scientific name for seeing patterns or pictures in nature where none exist.
Based on my routinely exhibited ability to make grandiose statements that can't be proven wrong but for which I nevertheless have no proof, I've always thought I would make an excellent astrophysicist.
Nine years ago today, I'd been visiting Washington D.C. with a group from my church when we'd heard that the Space Shuttle Columbia had been lost on reentry.
Although it all sounds ridiculous today, in 1835, knowledge of the moon was lacking and the belief in extraterrestrial life, including lunar life, was commonplace.
As a New Yorker, I know I haven't seen more than a handful of stars on any given night and the sad thing is, I didn't remember what I was missing until I watched The City Dark.
It may LOOK like just a dot from my backyard, but I know it's an orbital complex the size of a jumbo jet, built by 16 countries working together, and a house in space that's been inhabited continuously for more than half my life.
Here's a month-by-month listing of events I'm excited for in 2012.
If you're in New York City before Aug. 12, I wholeheartedly recommend seeing Beyond Planet Earth.
We who are only a blink of an eye beyond the discovery of fire can wonder "Why space?" or even "Why are we here?" To those of us who know, it is obvious: We are here... to go there.
One of my daily spiritual practices is to check on the condition of the universe. After all, that's where I live. At least for now.
I never thought I'd meet astronauts, especially not several of them twice. I never thought I'd see a space shuttle launch. I never thought I'd get to work for NASA. But I did, and I owe it to you.