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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Inspiration: Astronaut Prepares for Final Hubble Mission

Who says there's nothing exciting or inspiring about science? Read about Dr. John Grunsfeld: astrophysicist, astronaut, and chief repairman of the Hubble Telescope:

Coming out of the hatch on his first spacewalk, Dr. Grunsfeld had a moment of unreality. “I mean it was just too magical. Three hundred miles below me is the Earth. There I was a meter away from the Hubble Space Telescope. I couldn’t resist. I had to take a finger and reach out and touch it.”

In one of the longest spacewalks to date, more than eight hours, Dr. Grunsfeld and his spacewalking partner, Steven Smith, replaced the telescope’s gyros, a job that Dr. Grunsfeld described as “an icky task” because the gyros are in a delicate and awkward spot. He discovered that he had a knack for getting things done Out There.

Dr. Grunsfeld said he could get so involved in his task that he would forget he was in a space suit wearing gloves, a feeling he calls the Zen of space. “And once you’re outside working, you know, all the rest of the world disappears.”

“Once in a while the universe lets you be free alone and in peace,” he said [Dennis Overbye, "Last Voyage for the Keeper of the Hubble," New York Times, 2009.04.13].

Ad astra!

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