Six NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit answered these questions
Brenda Waters, M.D., Burlington, Vt., Age: 52
What differences, if any, do you see in the communication style
between the cosmonauts and the astronauts and their respective flight
Not a whole lot. We both treat the ground with respect and professionalism,
and they in turn do the same for us. The folks on the ground are
an important part of the team.
Alona Fromberg, Plano, Texas, Age: 17
I was wondering how do you keep a constant
pressure inside of your space station?
Space station is like a large pressure tank,
and we supply small amounts of air to make up for small losses due
Melissa, Adelanto, Calif., Age:
What do you think about most while you are
up there during your spare time?
Science. I think about science all the time.
Melissa, Tucson, Ariz., Age: 20
looking at your experiments, I am interested in possibly becoming
an astronaut with an electrical engineering degree. How did you
decide that you wanted to become an astronaut with a chemical engineering
It does not matter what your degree is in
to become an astronaut. The important thing is to apply yourself
in whatever field you choose.
Chester Zablocki, River Grove,
Ill., Age: 52
I see pictures that you gentlemen have taken of the stars from space.
Yet, why is it that when we see moving film of a spacewalk or other
exterior shots, we don't see the stars in the background?
Contrast; the stars are there but scattering and reflections from
sunlight either direct or indirect off of the lens surfaces or windows
prevent the stars from being seen. As soon as the sun sets, all
the stars come out.
Ritchie Kelly, Bellingham, Wash.,
Sometimes you wear long pants and sometimes shorts. Do you save
air conditioning energy by dressing lightly? What is the range of
internal temperatures? What percentage of internal heat derives
from equipment vs. external sunlight?
We wear shorts because we like too. The temperatures run around
22 degrees Celsius so it is nice and comfortable. Nearly all the
heat load is generated from equipment or people inside and not sunlight.
Cheryl, Milford, Mass., Age: N/A
If you have a cup of water, will the water float out of the cup?
Aren't the cup and the water both in free-fall?
The water will not float out of the cup for two reasons.
Both are in free float and the water surface tension forces will
hold it in even if subjected to small external forces.
Carmen Braden, Sandy Lake, Pa.,
How do you guide the station? Is it preset by a computer, or are
there adjustments made up there? If adjustments are made, who makes
We can change the station attitude using rocket thrusters
either from control via onboard computers or from radio commands
from the ground.
Richard Victor, Escondido, Calif.,
Even with your many years of training and education, what aspect
of space travel surprised you the most? If, after returning, you
were given a chance to return to the space station, would you?
I was surprised how much fun it is to fly. I would come
back to space station in a heart beat.
Mike Morgan, Malvern, Pa., Age:
A question for Science Officer Don Pettit: Do the thin films of
water stay intact if they are frozen?
I do not know the answer to this since I have no way
to freeze the water. It would be fun to try.