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Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (2017)

de Scott Kelly

Outros autores: Margaret Lazarus Dean

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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6064529,487 (4.22)35
The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home--an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on another mission, his twin brother's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging step in American spaceflight. A natural storyteller and modern-day hero, Kelly has a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come. Here, in his personal story, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.… (mais)
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What a fascinating look at life in space! From the mundane aspects of fixing the toilets to the beauty of watching the earth from the international space station, this memoir is incredible. There are slow moments, but the majority is honest to the point of being a PR nightmare. I loved seeing the international cooperation and learning what an astronaut’s life is truly like, struggles and all. Kelly’s time in space is intense and made me appreciate the small things. ( )
  bookworm12 | Nov 8, 2020 |
What a fun, informative, and uplifting read. Kelly's memoir of spending almost a year on the Space Station taught me so much. Among the things I took away from the book is the exceptional nature of the station itself, one of the few projects in the world that remains truly international. Kelly walks us through both the joys and challenges of living in space. The pages dedicated to the attack on his sister-in-law, Rep. Gabby Giffords, are deeply moving. Sometimes the book is laugh-out-loud funny. I listened to the audio book read by Kelly himself, and it was better, I think, than reading the book since I got a lot from his own intonation. Highly recommend. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
This is presented as two, semi-independent stories, in alternating chapters. The first story is that of the astronaut's approximate year on the International Space Station, in 2015 - 2016. The second story is his life, and how he got to that point. Both stories are fascinating.
Astronaut S. Kelly had a very different route, motivation, and experience than Astronaut Massimino, in the last comparable book I read, though they were in the same astronaut class. Both books conveyed uniquely, to the best of their ability, the humbling, stunning, beautiful, amazing experience of being in space, of seeing the Earth from outside its envelope, of the sheer difficulty of moving, let alone working, in a space suit. They both emphasized the teamwork inherent in a situation such as theirs.
Besides spending a very long time on the ISS, Kelly also flew the shuttle on the Hubble repair/upgrade that updated their gyros, before Massimino's repair journeys. He was pilot then, not one of those doing the Hubble EVAs.
Fascinating book, glad I read it.
The quote from this that speaks to me at the moment is, "I've learned that most problems aren't rocket science, but when they are rocket science, you should ask a rocket scientist." In other words. seek out experts.
One of the more humorous quotes, based on serving with the Russians on the ISS, and thus needing to learn the language, is, " I've learned that Russian has a more complex vocabulary for cursing than English does, and also a more complex vocabulary for friendship." ( )
  EowynA | May 6, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this. Kelly has a great sense of humor, his descriptions were very vivid, and he did a good job illuminating some of the more surreal aspects of space travel. I appreciated how the events earlier in his life were interspersed with his accounts of life on the International Space Station, and that way I got to learn about both instead of just wondering about when he would ever get to talking about space. At times, things seemed a little negative, but overall, it was a good read.

Before reading this, I had never really thought about what a pain life would be without gravity. For example, it had never occurred to me how much more difficult it would be to take a machine apart for repair and then reassemble it would be when all the components were floating around. And while I knew they had taken experimental animals up, I hadn’t thought about what would happen if they escaped. But Kelly recounted a time when several experimental mice escaped their lab habitat, and in addition to recovering the floating mice, the astronauts had to be on the lookout for the small brown pellets that were also floating through the lab. I spent years working in an entomology lab for my doctorate, and now I’m beginning to feel fortunate that I was able to do all my experiments with the assistance of Earth’s gravitational pull – so I didn’t have to worry about keeping my test tubes, petri plates, and the samples themselves from randomly drifting off! And I could use liquid buffers and reagents without a second thought; without gravity, water and water-based solutions will form perfect spheres as a result of surface tension, and of course those spheres will float as well. And now I’m imagining a special kind of hell – PCR prep on the space station. Also, while I had heard of the health effects of not having gravity, and how astronauts have special exercise regimens, I didn’t realize their bodies changed so much that they could feel the effect of missing even one exercise session. In addition, they have to do extra exercise closer to the end of their mission to prepare them for their return to full gravity, and even then it’s a difficult transition. It made me think that, at least while they’re in space, we are getting at least as much exercise as astronauts do just by going about our daily lives. I’ve gained a new appreciation for gravity now that I have finished this book.

Reading about all the problems with the carbon dioxide levels in the ISS (and the trouble Kelly had maintaining the Seedra machine) and the problem when the power to the O2 generator went down made me wonder why the space station doesn’t have more plants to help out with this. After all, plants fix carbon dioxide and release oxygen as a waste product. Unless plants somehow don’t work that way in space? Or maybe they take too much water? Or maybe they’re considered too much trouble – although I can’t imagine they’d be any more high-maintenance than the book makes the Seedra machine sound. Or would the scale just not work given the limited area of the space station? I don’t know how many plants of what size it would take to actually make it work – obviously if you need hectares upon hectares of forests like the ones on Earth it wouldn’t work on the space station – but I’m not sure you’d need anything on the scale of hectares for only a few people. I’m guessing that even one or two square meters would help with the carbon dioxide levels, and it’d be a heck of a lot more sustainable than sending up extra oxygen and new parts for the machines. And I might as well admit there were a couple points where I was yelling at the book about plants and how they would help with removing carbon dioxide and generating oxygen and why was there no discussion of this fairly straightforward application of second-grade science?! Okay, I seriously want to know why they don’t grow more plants on the space station, because it seems to me this would help out with yet another problem. Kelly also talked about how he and his crewmates started getting cravings for fresh fruits and vegetables, and even speculating on whether they could get scurvy (given the thought NASA puts into these things, I’d say unlikely). Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t easy to come by on the space station, because they have to be sent up on special resupply rockets, along with spare parts, fresh water, fresh oxygen, and medical supplies. The fresh fruits and vegetables were so important to the crew that Kelly specifically identifies the ones sent up on the two resupply rockets: apples, pears, and bell peppers on the first rocket and apples and onions on the second. To me, all of this just adds to the case for seriously cultivating plants on the space station. Plants – In Space!

I didn’t realize it was possible to vote from space, but Kelly talked about making special arrangements with his home county so he could cast his ballot from the space station on election day: “I take pride in exercising my constitutional rights from space, and I hope it sends a message that voting is important (and that inconvenience is never a good excuse for failing to vote).” (Page 288). He also talked about following the news from space and shared what surely must be one of the most unique perspectives on the news ever: “Sometimes before going to sleep I look out the windows of the Cupola at the planet below. What the hell is going on down there? I mutter to myself.” (Page 288).

This book also gave a striking illustration of the power of books and reading. Kelly says reading a copy of [b:The Right Stuff|586472|The Right Stuff|Tom Wolfe|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1393654700s/586472.jpg|907221] as a college student helped him finally get his life on track. And one of the few things from Earth he took with him – and for perspective, his quarters on the space station were about the size of a phone booth, so he had to choose carefully – was another book:

“I open the door to my CQ [crew quarters]. As I push against the back wall to float myself out, I accidentally kick loose a paperback book: [b:Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage|139069|Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage|Alfred Lansing|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1391329559s/139069.jpg|900140]by Alfred Lansing. I brought this book with me on my previous flight as well, and sometimes I flip through it after a long day and reflect on what these explorers went through almost exactly a hundred years before…

“When I try to put myself in their place, I think the uncertainty must have been the worst thing. The doubt about their survival would be worse than the hunger and the cold. When I read about their experiences, I think about how much harder they had it than I do. Sometimes I’ll pick up the book specifically for that reason. If I’m inclined to feel sorry for myself because I miss my family or because I had a frustrating day or because the isolation is getting to me, reading a few pages about the Shackleton expedition reminds me that even if I have it hard up here in some ways, I’m certainly not going through what they did.” (Page 77).

This is also interesting:

“It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t lived here how much we start to miss nature. In the future there will be a word for the specific kind of nostalgia we feel for living things. We all like to listen to recordings of nature – rainforests, birdcalls, wind in the trees. (Misha even has a recording of mosquitos, which I think goes a bit too far.) As sterile and lifeless as everything is up here, we do have windows that give us a fantastic view of Earth. It’s hard to describe the experience of looking down on the planet. I feel as though I know the Earth in an intimate way most people don’t – the coastline, terrain, mountains, and rivers. Some parts of the world, especially in Asia, are so blanketed by air pollution that they appear sick, in need of treatment or at least a chance to heal. The line of our atmosphere on the horizon looks as thin as a contact lens over an eye, and its fragility seems to demand our protection.” (Page 73).

Here are a few pictures of the atmosphere from the space station. The first has got to be one of the most spectacular pictures I have ever seen:



And for a closer look:



The atmosphere scatters more blue light than any other wavelength, which is why it always looks blue in the pictures and why Earth appears to have a blue halo from space. Many astronauts have said the thin blue halo is one of the most beautiful things about Earth, and that it makes the planet look stunningly fragile.

I also had no idea the extent to which air pollution was visible from space; the first picture was taken while the space station was over China and the second was taken when it was over India.


Public Domain, Link

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=2309) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aerosol-India.jpg">

The part of the paragraph about missing nature also brings to mind the idea of biophilia. Almost all people have some drive to connect with nature – it’s why we do things like keep houseplants, have pets, and publicly fund and visit a vast array of city, state, and national parks – and why medical studies have proven that being in nature really is therapeutic for a variety of medical disorders. It’s also why there’s such a field as “urban forestry,” which focuses on the care and management of the trees in large cities, not only the ones in parks but also the ones set into the sidewalks and in street medians (which help not only with aesthetics but also air pollution). And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also the reason for the large number of fictional urban dystopias where nature has been erased. I would call this “nostalgia for living things” unfulfilled biophilia – or simply what happens when a biophilic organism is suddenly removed from its entire biosphere – and obviously some people can handle it better than others. But even astronauts aren’t immune. One of the botanical studies on the space station involved growing zinnias, which almost died before Kelly convinced NASA to allow him to directly care for them. He succeeded: “When I post the first picture of the healthy zinnias on social media, there is a huge explosion of interest – six million impressions. It’s gratifying to see people respond with enthusiasm to something I’ve come to care about…I care about the flowers much more than I was expecting to, partly because I’ve been missing the beauty and fragility of living things.” (Page 345).

A relatively minor thing that nevertheless ended up bugging me throughout the book was the capitalization of “Earth.” The rule I learned was that it was never supposed to be capitalized if it was preceded by “the,” and to capitalize it if it wasn’t. The more nuanced form of this rule is to see if the sentence would make sense if you substituted “Mars” for “Earth” – if it does, and if you don’t end up with something like “the Mars,” then capitalization is appropriate. But in this book “Earth” was capitalized every single time. Although I could see how, given the unique perspective of an astronaut, the planet could acquire a capital “E” regardless of the rules.

Oh, and we DO NOT need to go to Mars when we’ve already screwed up this planet so badly. Until you learn how to take care of the one you have, you don’t get a new one…

Some fun quotes:

“At four [mmHg carbon dioxide], my eyes burn and I can feel the cognitive effects. If I’m trying to do something complex, I actually start to feel stupid, which is a troubling way to feel on a space station.” (Page 89).

“It drives me nuts that our food specialists insist on giving us the same number of chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch puddings, when the laws of physics dictate chocolate will disappear much faster. No one gets a vanilla craving in space (or on Earth).” (Page 95).

“The Russians also have something called “the Appetizing Appetizer,” which it is not.” (Page 143).

“Only later, when the Twitter chat is over, do I have the chance to reflect that I just experienced being trolled, in space, by the second man on the moon, while also engaging in a Twitter conversation with the president.” (Page 190).

And a rather poignant one:

“I’ve learned that following the news from space can make Earth seem like a swirl of chaos and conflict, and that seeing the environmental degradation caused by humans is heartbreaking. I’ve also learned that our planet is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and that we’re lucky to have it.” (Page 362).
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Scott Kelly describes the dedication and determination required to become an astronaut. His description of life in space reveals some of the not necessarily obvious nature of the environment, such as the sounds and smells. He also gives a little insight into the psychology of life as an astronaut. A thoroughly fascinating and engrossing read.
  rodneyvc | Jan 3, 2020 |
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Scott Kellyautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Dean, Margaret Lazarusautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Grob, MarcoArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kidd, ChipDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home--an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on another mission, his twin brother's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging step in American spaceflight. A natural storyteller and modern-day hero, Kelly has a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come. Here, in his personal story, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.

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