Issue #4(30) 2021 Lounge

What space taught me about water

Nicole Stott St Petersburg FL, USA

Of the 550 or so individuals that have ventured into Earth orbit or to the Moon, the great majority have been profoundly moved in some way - and US astronaut Nicole Stott is one of them. Stott’s experience of living and working on the International Space Station (ISS) is summarised in her book, Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet - And Our Mission to Protect it. Referring to the inspiration she gained from her own spaceflight experience and reflecting on the significance of the iconic ‘Earthrise’ photo from Apollo 8, the author hopes to inspire an ‘Earthrise moment’ in each of us to take on our most important role as crewmates, not passengers, on Spaceship Earth. The following article is based on an exclusive extract from her book.

The coolest thing about living in microgravity is the ability to float around, but perhaps the most entrancing aspect is to experience the magic of floating water. Astronauts have a tradition of taking what you might call a ‘water selfie’ - a self-portrait of each astronaut’s face, reflected in a floating ball of water. The face comes out upside-down in the picture, and it’s a fun keepsake that enables us to share a little of what it’s like to live in space.

On the space station, we have a saying that “yesterday’s coffee becomes this morning’s coffee.” As on Earth, water is a precious and limited resource in space, and it’s heavy so it’s very expensive to resupply from Earth to space.

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