Reid Wiseman looked out the back of the spaceship. Earth was blocking the sun, and he was in darkness. Without the atmosphere in the way the stars appeared perfectly still.
“I know the Wyoming night is pretty awesome for stargazing, but the number of stars you can see when you look out the back of the space station at night — it just seems impossible,” Wiseman said. “There are so many you can’t even pick out constellations.”
Wiseman is a NASA astronaut who served as flight engineer aboard the International Space Station for Expedition 41.
This Saturday, Wyoming Stargazing will host him for a talk about his experience in space and how he fostered his social media presence.
“When I got into space ... and I looked outside at our Earth,” he said, “my initial thought was, ‘Every single person should do this. Every single person should get to see this.’”
Wiseman enjoyed sharing his experience through Twitter.
“I had no idea people would go so crazy for that,” he said. “It was just not part of the plan.
“I just wanted to send some pictures down of Earth and talk about the science on the station, and it was just incredibly successful.”
One of the things that surprised Wiseman was how sick he felt when he entered outer space.
“My stomach felt upset, I had a headache, I couldn’t really comprehend what I was reading,” he said. “I knew I wouldn’t feel great, but it was just unexpected how difficult it would be initially.
“Then it was also unexpected that, after a week of being on the space station, looking out the window was second nature, operating in space was second nature,” he said.
“So how quickly the human body adapts to a completely foreign environment was surprising.”
Tasks that were fairly easy to Wiseman on Earth became a challenge in outer space, though some more difficult Earth tasks were easier.
“You know, you can you can move a refrigerator with your pinky, but you can’t eat a bag of peanuts,” Wiseman said.
After adjusting to life up above he conducted research with the other astronauts.
“Some of the research we’re doing is on our own body,” he said.
Studying his own bone density loss, he noticed his muscles changing without the influence of gravity. The data they collected will help prepare other astronauts for potential trips to Mars, he said.
“If we’re going to spend a year or two going out to Mars and coming back, how are we going to survive that?”
Wiseman believes we are in the golden age of space travel and encourages those interested to pursue space exploration.
NASA is working on Artemis, a mission to get the next man and the first woman on the moon by 2024. The year after that it plans to partner with outside companies in the hope of getting people to Mars.
“There’s never been a better time,” Wiseman said. “So just take the leap of faith and give it a try.”
The astronaut looks forward to visiting Jackson, as his space travel has stressed the importance of nature and presence in everyday moments.
“When I come out there to Jackson the only thing I absolutely have to do is walk amongst the trees,” he said. “It’s just such a beautiful place out there. I think [space travel] gave me an appreciation for taking a step back and enjoying life.” ￼