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severalog

New orbits

Harry Caufield

wheeee.jpg

I've always found astronauts inspiring. No, that's not a controversial statement. These are people who are so far beyond everyone in terms of skill, determination, and often literal distance that they're almost superhuman, yet obviously vulnerable due to their exposure to the universe's natural hazards. I mean, how could that not be inspiring?

People living in space need to be resourceful. They need to have some degree of improvisational skill, and I'm not just talking about Chris Hadfield-like performance skills and sci-comm virtuosity (a term I believe is appropriate as the guy really captured how to answer What Everyone Wants to Know while balancing it with The Practical Stuff). I'm focused on the fact that both science and life in space depend upon resourcefulness, whether it's hacking together a carbon dioxide filter for Apollo 13* or the necessary responses to ISS maintenance issues. This is universally true, to a different degree: science can be dangerous and researchers must maintain their health.

I'm in a new place now, beginning a new mission. I'm not an astronaut and I'm not in space. It's just LA, and it's strange in its own way, but I like it. Hopefully I have numerous opportunities for improvisation.

*This isn't purely the work of the astronauts themselves, of course, but they were the ones who had to implement an emergency plan while running out of breathable air.