NASA’s astronaut Peggy Whitson spent a record-breaking 665 days in space at the International Space Station which is the more than any American has spent till now. Peggy, from the smallest town of Iowa, has termed the ISS as her second home. But about her current home address, it is the Earth. The astronaut has shared her experience about the time when she left the International Space Station for the last time. She shares in the final episode of One Strange Rock. The episode broadcasted on 28th May on the National Geographic Channel. The last episode named There’s No Place Like Home showed the return journey of Whitson, astronaut Jack Fischer, and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, from ISS to the Earth.
The last episode also carries some exclusive footage of the inside part of ISS which were filmed by Paolo Nespoli, European astronaut. The video shows some outstanding scenes of Whitson’s life in the ISS. It describes every activity of her like moving around the ISS, staring out from windows of ISS, etc.
Expressing her emotions and stating about her home, Whitson informed that it’s all about the perspective of the person. For her, the first home was the firm located in Beacons Ville, lowa. She lived there during her childhood time. There she started her schooling at Wesleyan College, lowa. Then her home started to expand to other cities she moved to Texas, where she joined Johnson Space Center of NASA. During that time, it was like the whole state was her home. Then she used to travel Russia very frequently and became a part of the United States of America. So, for her, the home was the Earth. However, her cheerful smile and laughs are the proof that she loved her life spent in the ISS, installing batteries, electrical components, testing space microbes and more. Talking more about this, she stated it was really incredible to be a part of space exploration. But, one phase of her life in the ISS that she won’t miss is the toilet of ISS.
The International Space Station is not a hotel and she has termed the journey as a camping trip. Even though, the toilet of ISS is not bad, it is something better than from using Maximum Absorbency Garment diapers which were used during the Apollo moon mission. The cost of the ISS’s toilet is around $19,000 but not first class. Whitson stated that urinating in the ISS was quite easy. For this, astronauts in the ISSS, use a funnel attached with a fan which produce vacuum power and suctions the pee away.
After around 8 days, the liquid turns into drinking water for the astronauts. But things weren’t just simple in case of number two. Here the astronauts need to hit a small target. The toilet has a little plate-sized hole and the hole is covered with a silver can. During the process, the attached fan produces vacuum forces and suck the body waste away. After the end of the process, the body waste then gets sealed up for space trash. But, it gets full before the next space trash, the astronauts pack it down using rubber gloves. Around 80 to 85 percent of urine recycled into astronaut’s drinking water in ISS.
Now coming back to the real matter, in the all One Strange Rock series, eight astronauts have shared their thoughts about the Earth. The psychological development is quite common among the astronauts and called as the overview effect. The whole world is divided by borders, but from space, the view is something different. One will get to see the most stunning and beautiful view of the planet earth where there are no borders between the nations and all people are bound with a special connection and share a special connection.
Whitson added, when she flew for the first time to space she was thinking about how thin the atmosphere is. It was looking delicate. All people share the same air and planet and it is important to take care of planet.
For now, Whitson doesn’t have any plan for space travel but she stated that she will never hesitate to travel again on space missions. She will never miss such opportunity. Expressing her optimistic thought about alien worlds, she stated maybe one-day human will get life in the universe.
Whitson further added that “Looking out into space and seeing thousands of stars and identifying that all these stars are in our galaxy, and there’s actually billions and billions of galaxies.” There will be some sort of life sign. That life may not look like humans or may be based on the human’s living principle.
For now, Earth is the only place where one can survive and expand. Other planets don’t have that quality where a life can grow. But Whitson also expressed that she would like to live under a weightless or a zero-gravity environment like the ISS has. It provides a much easier way to move as one can fly here and there with just little push. Whitson told that she loves to live in space and the zero-gravity experience there is really nice.