A Trip Around The World? Or A Trip Through Space?

Taken in Portugal a tad in a dark dark night sky and right in the middle of it that little swirly thing right up in the middle of the sky that is the Andromeda galaxy and that picture just struck me because I it’s it made me realize that I really do.

Believe in galaxies I mean I’ve always known that they exist we all read books you know we we read the news we’ve you.

Know picture of the day you know Astronomy Picture of the Day all those things but somehow when I see a picture that a person took of the night sky on our night sky and that galaxy is right there looking with a can with a with a lens you could see it that that’s a place.
That is our neighbor it was really.

Significant to me and who knows maybe somebody from there is looking back at us.

And so we we’ve heard a lot of talks tonight I got to hear bits and pieces of different ones and to me they’re all actually all about exploration of different sorts and I think it takes people to explore people will make the discoveries of the future whether they are in technology.

Or across our galaxy leaving our planet or on the planet helping us stay on the planet all of these are journeys of exploration and none of them happen alone and I think that nights like tonight.

When people stand up on a stage and gather their courage and share things that they think are important well this.

Is the way that we take steps forward so I’m really I’m sorry not to be there and at the same time just knowing that you’re together.

Knowing reading the BIOS you know looking a bit affiliate.

You know that people I would have been if I could have been there it still just makes me realize that nights like tonight us are something to celebrate and I also think that there’s something to take forward I think that you know first for a few people it’s not so hard to step up.

On a stage and it’s not so hard to decide what to share but for most of us there’s some part of that process that’s hard and that we need help with and.

Sharing those thoughts and those feelings of what that experience is like with you for you with other people will bring.

More people to more stages and those stages can be some place like where you are today or they could be the grocery store or standing on the subway I.

Mean those are stages as well and those are places that we we try on different personas we step up on that stage no matter where it is and and and share and and realize that.

There are more aspects to each.

Of us than even we understand and that is the way that steps forward are taken so I’d.

For sharing their stories tonight I think that.

Collaboration takes being brave I think it takes being open and in most cases I would.

Say all of us have to be both and in this world when I look at the interdisciplinary problems that we.

Need to solve none of us can understand enough about the different aspects of those problems the different disciplines that come into play to solve them and.

That we’re gonna have to do it together we’re gonna have to talk to people that we don’t know we’re gonna have to talk to people that we don’t like and we’re gonna learn stuff that we thought we.

Were done with but when you do it in a place like this with TEDx it’s pretty marvelous that you’re wearing to you know do you think going to Mars is going to be a thing and what comes to mind when you think about traveling to Mars human commercial flight verse NASA what’s your opinion and then do you have any props or artifacts in your home.

That you want to show us I see some of Josh’s stuff in the background you have like an extra steering wheel for a okay it’s actually Josh isn’t a background I’m gonna ask him to help me hey will you get my my Space Shuttle nut so the patches well there’s one for your country which is really pretty wonderful to have and.

Will say that having and just will you bring me a planet as well and so it’s pretty wonderful to have to represent your country and at the same time looking down you realize.

That it’s just one piece of the puzzle you have let’s see other patches these are my space station missions and when we go to the space station we go up in.

Groups of we go up with groups of three so when I got there Scott Kelly and his two Russian crewmates were already there so we come they’re there three more come that’s us Paulo from.

Italy Scott Kelly and myself or sorry Paulo from Italy d’emic authoritative and myself coming our six and then three go away and and three more common so we’re we’re part of a crew of six but it’s.

There’s a lot of getting used to other people and learning how to collaborate with them and something that I really try to chair when I’m out there chairing is that we a luxury as astronauts in that when we’re up on that space station and we look around we are the only people that are gonna get the job.

Done up there and and so you realize that if you don’t do something or you don’t.

Enable one of your crewmates to do it then it’s not going to get done and it’s important and so that’s a luxury.

That we have to realize that we’re we’re we’re a crew and that there is no one else but when I look back at the planet of course I see the crew down there and all sorts of different crews there are so few things that I need us do.

Alone that’s a bunch about Mars but first I will just share this this is.

This is a I think we have a lot of cool things in our house this is one of my favorite things and because I like to stay married I gave it to my husband so when the shuttle lifts off there are those this is this is one of the nuts on the bolts.

That we’re holding down the solid rocket boosters so you know there’s the space shuttle it has orange tank there’s those two white candle like things each of those white big candle like things which are Rockets are held down with four bolts and when we count down the engines light about six seconds before launch and they actually push.

That shuttle over about the nose actually swings about six feet and when it swings back to zero that’s when that’s when these bolts blow and they’ll rot those solid rocket boosters fire and we lift off the launch pad so it’s pretty cool to come home first of all cool to come home and second it’s it’s pretty great when they they give you actually both halves of these so I Josh and I commuted for about 24 years.

Or so and so I gave him one half and I had the other and you asked me and I will talk about Mars but um you asked me about some of the art that’s around josh is.

A glass artist and he made planets like this one like a dozen years before we ever.

Ever met and and we actually met because I call the wrong phone number and so but you know I break that up because I think that sometimes you just have to come outside yourself and answer the phone or talk to somebody different and.

Really look at them and really listen to them and wonder what their life.

Is like and and maybe you’ll get nice presents like.

This what so Josh was making these long before we ever met but I’m upping I’m a big believer that all of.

Us explore in different ways and you know similar to me saying that that picture of the Andromeda galaxy really spoke to me and.

Said wow no I really feel like galaxies are.

Real because I could see it and I could see it in context you know Josh makes these planets they’re they’re bits of glass metal that you know he’s put together he makes every piece in there and I love it when they’re saucy if this could go up to the lens here when you really.

At it and you see that there’s sort of organized places there and I like to say that you know we’re approaching this planet.

For the first time but somebody else has been there already and they have been very very busy so I think the the power of.

Storytelling the power of art the power of visual things is really really important in trying to achieve a mission and that really brings us to Mars one of my favorite statistics is that when I applied to be an astronaut in 1992 about 2400 people applied.

And then 20 years later 6500 people applied.

The in between we had selections I just picked those data points in about 20 years the number of people saying I would like to be an astronaut tripled about three years after that 18500 people applied so from sixty-five hundred three years later 18500 people and the only thing that I can tell that was different is that the Martian movie came out and people saw that movie and.

They and I think they just said well hey they’re.

Really going and if I want to be a part of that I had better raise my hand and that is the power of storytelling and I you know in.

My retired life I loved being involved in films and movies that paint a picture of the future where we all see each other and I think that’s our we we see we see ourselves.

I think it’s a really important aspect of it that when you see a movie you see you know you see women you see minorities you see different people standing up being courageous and doing the missions and then you realize that you are one of those people did I get everything John.

And stars we see John Oh Josh wake up we come say hi yeah and so actually you know we’re where we live up here about two.

Hours the west of Boston we’re actually headed that way.

For our what’s that like they depicted in movies but those actors are faking it what’s in you’re one of a handful that can.

Really say what that what are you asking Josh you’re asking me I missed the first part of your question but I you know you’re the white part I’m like hey I’m supposed to know about that you know.

I I was actually pretty stressed about it when she got when she got assigned to that mission but I realized at some point along the way that there were thousands of people who were responsible for her safety and that that they were gonna do the best job they could and.

Not no amount of worrying on my part was gonna.

Do anything and that word that worked right up until the time that they got to the ten nine eight part of the countdown and there’s a there we were on the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building watching and.

You can still if you run your fingers along the pipe you.

Can still feel where my hands squash the pipe worrying about it granted you’ve met Buzz Aldrin but ask to know you’ve met new on front you know how important was their personalities and how they approach what they did you know for the vector the space program.

And how we see space well those are two pretty different guys and and I think they were in actually ironically we know we’ve both met them together and III know Neil our new Neil better than then buzz but you know they’re they’re clearly way different guys and you know and you could pick who you wanted to have.

Dinner with or who you wanted to spend a long time with in a small capsule but both of them bring things to the mission and you know I’d sit in a capsule with anybody I’ll tell you that but you know that’s what I think the space program is all about.

And you asked about commercial versus NASA I mean it is a wonderful amazing astonishing time in the space program.

In terms of I mean there are things that are hot that are hard for the government to do and our commercial partners like Boeing like SpaceX like Blue Origin like orbital sciences those folks are able to do things that we can’t and especially they’re especially able to take risks with hardware that we can’t that doesn’t mean with people but with hardware and that really jumps.

All of us I had that’s actually a hard one for me um I’m kind of in the more recent kind of genre I would say um certainly gravity is up there cuz I got to help because when I was up there my brother met Sandra Bullock’s brother-in-law and.

Our crew got to give her advice about the movie but I actually really loved that movie because I feel really lucky to have gone to.

Space and I think that that movie gravity shows you not only the view and what it you know seeing the.

Earth but what it feels like to have that view um I love Mystery Science Theater 3000 I think that those little robots are.

So funny and I think it makes all of us have a different point of view one of my favorite lines in that movie is there they’re watching the little robots are watching movies and in one of the movies there’s a kind of old-fashioned often space on the bridge of the spaceship thing.

The commander looks at somebody else and says how do we stand on fuel and the little guys the little robot guys go I’m.

Long and prosper we’re saluting you thank you our taxpayer dollars were well spent on you representing us in space good luck the next chapter of your.

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