Asteroid detection, tracking, and defense of our planet is something that NASA, its interagency partners, and the global community take very seriously.
When I first went to Hubble, as an astronomer and as a scientist, it was a dream come true. And as an astronaut, the Hubble missions are premiere missions because Hubble is so important to science, so important to humanity, that it's just a very special event. But as an astronomer, it was sort of the holy grail of missions.
When I grew up on the south side of Chicago, it was kind of a rough neighborhood, and when my parents saw the prospect of my older sister going to middle school, high school, they decided that we would move to the north side of Chicago, Highland Park, and for me, that was a whole new ballgame.
All indications are that three and a half billion years ago, Mars looked like Earth. It had lakes. It had rivers. It had river deltas. It had snow-capped peaks and puffy clouds and blue sky. Three and a half billion years ago, it was a happening place. The same time on Earth, that's when life started. So did life start on Mars?
Growing up in Highland Park, in high school, I had some very influential teachers: I had a math teacher who taught calculus that helped me learn to be in love with mathematics; I had a chemistry teacher who inspired us to work what was in the class and to go beyond.
I was not really scared on my spacewalks. We practice so much and need to stay so focused that it has a calming effect on me. I do a kind of visualization and meditation in the airlock prior to going outside, to guide my first activities once I get out in space.
Only by studying large numbers of people can we figure out, are astronauts dying at a higher rate of cancer, and what types of cancers, than other people?
Are we alone? Many, many people on planet Earth want to know. We are on the cusp of being able to answer that question... because of the investments we're making in space technology.
Here on Earth, we're exposed to asteroids hitting the Earth, eventual changes in the Sun, changes in the Earth's climate, things we're doing to the Earth's climate. If we want to survive, we need to become a multi-planet species. That's further down the road, but the first wave is going to be the explorers.
The Hubble Space Telescope is more than remarkable. It has answered just so many of those fundamental questions that people have been asking about the cosmos since people were able to ask questions.
The James Webb Space Telescope was specifically designed to see the first stars and galaxies that were formed in the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope was specifically designed to see the first stars and galaxies that were formed in the universe. So we're gonna see the snapshot of when stars started. When galaxies started. The very first moments of the universe. And my bet? There's gonna be some big surprises.
I grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 1960s, and I think there was a synchronicity of events that inspired me to be an astronaut, and, of course, the backdrop is nothing less than Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. That was a time in our nation where we aspired to great things, and we achieved them.
What we do at NASA is inspiring. It's reaching, it's visionary, and it inspires people on Earth to try hard things.
I got lucky and got assigned to Hubble.
The only reason Hubble works is because we have a space shuttle.
The team at the Space Telescope Science Institute has a demonstrated record of meeting the high-performance challenges of operating the Hubble Space Telescope and preparing for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Hubble isn't just a satellite; it's about humanity's quest for knowledge.
I can't imagine anywhere I'd rather be than outside the space shuttle in my space suit next to the Hubble Space Telescope.
To help enable the kind of science Hubble is performing makes my life worthwhile.