Nasa astronaut talks up space travel

Fischer interacts with students

Fischer meets chief minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar. 
Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: A journey into space takes a physical toll on astronauts, but the unique experience compensates for that adequately, said Nasa astronaut Jack Fischer.

Fischer, who was here on Wednesday, said: "The journey to space ages you as it involves a lot of challenges, especially taking care of your health. As there is no gravity, there is a lot of pressure on your body. You also miss your family a lot."

Fischer, who logged 136 days in space during his mission earlier this year, spoke to students of SAI International School here as part of their tech fair.

The astronaut and two other space walkers had returned to Earth on the Peggy Whitson on September 3, concluding a mission that included scientific experiments and two space-walks.

In his presentation to the students, Fischer said at the space station said he and his fellow astronauts worked on around 337 experiments, the major one being on cancer drugs.

Around 4,000 students, including those from the school and 22 other educational institutions, listened in rapt attention as Fischer described his experience in zero gravity.

When asked if he would prefer to live in space or on Earth, his was short: "I will never mind settling in space, provided my wife accompanies me. I missed her the most while I was there."

Fischer's interest in space began when he visited the Johnson Space Centre with his grandfather as a youngster.

"I went there with him as a six-year-old and I was mesmerised to see the rockets and I fell in love with the idea of doing something incredible in space," said the US Air Force colonel.

Speaking of the astronauts coming from lesser-known parts of the world, Fischer said: "We will soon see a rise in that as we develop more space shuttles. It will give new opportunities for more countries to fly to space."

Quite confident about man's mission to Mars, he said: "I absolutely believe that we will be able to set up a civilisation there shortly."

Fischer also met chief minister Naveen Patnaik during his visit to the city.


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