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October 19, 2013 at 10:12am
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Reblogged from astroperlas
In fiction about near-future space travel, there is sometimes a scene that makes a character relatable by showing that they have decorated their small personal space with mementos and souvenirs. This is almost such an image. The character is Karen Nyberg, PhD, a mechanical engineer whose work concentrates on thermodynamics, especially of space suits. She misses her son, who is back on Terra with his father, also an astronaut. The almost is because this is not fiction: Dr Nyberg is real, and really took this photograph. As I write this, she is 475 km over the South Pacific; she tweeted a photo of Turkey three hours ago.

This kind of thing is one reason I am unsympathetic to the “We were promised jetpacks” refrain (previously and passim). We have a space station. It is a little bit mundane because real things become that way. More satellites look down than look up because we’re down here. I have many strong opinions about what we aren’t doing in space that we should be (and vice versa), but Dr Nyberg’s cabin reminds me that, ambitious as I am, I can be grateful for what we have today.

In fiction about near-future space travel, there is sometimes a scene that makes a character relatable by showing that they have decorated their small personal space with mementos and souvenirs. This is almost such an image. The character is Karen Nyberg, PhD, a mechanical engineer whose work concentrates on thermodynamics, especially of space suits. She misses her son, who is back on Terra with his father, also an astronaut. The almost is because this is not fiction: Dr Nyberg is real, and really took this photograph. As I write this, she is 475 km over the South Pacific; she tweeted a photo of Turkey three hours ago.

This kind of thing is one reason I am unsympathetic to the “We were promised jetpacks” refrain (previously and passim). We have a space station. It is a little bit mundane because real things become that way. More satellites look down than look up because we’re down here. I have many strong opinions about what we aren’t doing in space that we should be (and vice versa), but Dr Nyberg’s cabin reminds me that, ambitious as I am, I can be grateful for what we have today.

Notes

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  12. vruba reblogged this from astroperlas and added:
    In fiction about near-future space travel, there is sometimes a scene that makes a character relatable by showing that...
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