Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

So, I have enjoyed watching the TV series The Big Bang Theory. One of the characters in that series went to space, and I was surprised to find out that one of the characters that went with him is in fact a real life astronaut.

Enter Mike Massimino!

And of course, Mike has written a book on his experience in space. Not only his experience in space, but also his first inspiration for it. And how, even though he had forgot about it, his life path took him to towards robotics. And then, his PhD and how he struggled and came on top with help of friends. And then, his selection as an astronaut and the struggles he undertook for that. And then, his struggles for becoming a part of the Hubble project and to be able to do a spacewalk.

All in all, the book, or at least the first two thirds is the story of a normal guy working hard, facing problems and succeeding with the help of friends and family. Then Mike goes into safety for astronauts in light of the incident involving Kalpana Chawla's demise. He then talks about his second trip before talking about his life after being an astronaut.

Here are a few parts I liked in no particular order:

Practice makes perfect. How often I practice my stuff?
The answer will leave me ashamed.

When you are screwed, you are screwed!

No more self made men! 

I wonder what eyesight has to do with so much
instrumentation in today's planes and shuttles.
At least it made the book a bit more interesting.

So, you are an astronaut?

I like this attitude.

And I think my stuff and time is expensive.

You mean the times I feel stupid have been
 my best times at school and in office?

I do not use pillows!  NASA's gotta dis-invent
their pillow thingies. Oh, wait.

The stakes are high indeed in space.

Earth as seen from space. Through the eyes and through the heart :-)

"The line isn't moving. The sin isn't moving. We are."

Sometimes the facts are a bit too simple.

"Being the right person isn't about being perfect;
it's about being able to handle whatever life throws at you."
More than anything else, this guy's humility and perseverance are the biggest lessons I got from the book.


  1. Interesting blog post. I am familiar with Astronaut Massimino. But did have the opportunity yet to read his book. Soon.

  2. I don't watch the show but that's really interesting to know. That sounds like an interesting book also.

  3. Goes to show what can be done when you are determined. Not giving up until you've tried every option is big too. And yep, have to practice if you want to get better.

    1. You have wonderfully summarised Mike's struggles to become an astronaut.

  4. I have lately been reading some of Dr. Edgar Mitchell's writings and find many points of agreement in the snippets of Massimino you have posted.

    1. That is nice to hear, Geo.

      I hope to read Dr. Mitchell's work some time.

  5. Don't know about the book.

    But I like the way you have put portions of the book with comments under each one of them. So personalized all the while giving a feel of the book too. Nice method. I am tempted to copy this style.

    1. Thank you.

      Doing the this way has two benefits: you do not need any original content, and it involves minimum work!