Book 17 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from February 27 - March 6
**I received this book via Blogging for Books and would like to thank the author and/or publisher for the opportunity to read and review it.**
Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
by Mike Massimino
Summary (via the book jacket)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity.
Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection.
Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope - which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission - Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where science meets the most thrilling adventure, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.
This was an intriguing, well-written, accessible book.
His love for his job and passion for space bleeds through the pages and his enthusiasm was contagious. It felt like I was there with him so I was nervous about his eye exam even though I knew he passed and became an astronaut! I loved the genuine awe in his descriptions about spacewalking.
He described his job and responsibilities without too much technical jargon so you don't have to love space to read this, but he also was able to include enough depth to answer questions for those who do want to know the mechanics. That's not an easy thing to do and I can see why he ended up in NASA's public relations department before becoming a professor. He seems very well-suited for both.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"Some people dream of being Galileo [a scientist]. Other people dream of being Shackleton [an adventurer]. The amazing thing about being an astronaut is that you get to be Galileo and Shackleton at the same time. You're tackling the big questions of human existence, and you're doing it in places where human life shouldn't even be possible."
"In the beginning, I felt like an imposter telling people I was an astronaut because I hadn't been to space. Then I eventually realized that I was thinking about it all wrong. Going to space doesn't make you an astronaut. Being an astronaut means you're ready to go to space."
"On my second day home [from space] I was unloading the groceries from the store. I grabbed a bag from the back of the car, took it out, stood up, set it out about shoulder high, and let go. It didn't float."
"Every person who goes to space, every person who gets to peek around the next corner, is someone with the potential to help change our perspective, change our relationship to the planet, change our understanding of our place in the universe. Which is why we go to space to begin with."