‘Her’ Story in Space: Former American Astronaut Marsha Ivins in Thiruvananthapuram

She has seen sunrise and sunset 16 times a day. When she is at work, she looks down at the Earth.

On Friday, former American astronaut Marsha Ivins guided the audience through her spatial experience, using videos taken through her journeys. Ms. Ivins was in Thiruvananthapuram to inaugurate the Kerala chapter of the South India American Studies Network (SIASN). The interactive session was organised by the SIASN and the Kerala International Centre (KIC).

The videos showed astronauts floating around and playing with water drops. They exercised, played games, and took photographs of the Earth. Life, one would think, was so cool in space. Ms. Ivins agreed, saying those who stayed in space never wanted to come back.

With their lifestyle, the astronauts also had a few lessons to teach in waste management and power consumption, she said.

“We do not throw waste into space; we process it or take it back home.” She explained what she meant by processing. “Liquid waste is processed to be used for coffee the next day. In my experience, none of the astronauts have had any complaints so far.”

Space debris, such as abandoned spacecrafts or defunct satellites, is also treated and programmes are initiated to remove such debris.

But what about the risk of the spacecraft colliding with such debris? Ms. Ivins said the spacecraft could be carefully navigated or controlled to avoid such collisions.

Ms. Ivins, who had her heart set on becoming an astronaut at the age of 10, said the world had to move forward in the area of space exploration.

“Beyond the Earth, moon and Mars, we need to explore the solar systems, the millions of galaxies that surround us. When we become capable of building fuel, oxygen, and repairing damages to the space shuttle while in space, only then can we move further. The future is yours,” Ms. Ivins, who was head of the exploration branch of the astronaut office of NASA, said.

“All the astronauts who have travelled to space have one thing to say. As we go round the Earth, there are no natural borders, only man-made ones,” Ms. Ivins said.

News Sourced from “Metro Manorama” and “The Hindu

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