Astronaut Mike Massimino returns to MIT and shares his experience on the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-125). Topics include the challenges of space walking while repairing the Hubble, having the right tools on hand for high stakes repairs, and the long hours of practice that lead up to the task. As the first astronaut to Twitter from space, Massimino provides funny, personal and insightful anecdotes from the mission including the competition amongst his team to be the last human to touch the Hubble.
Accompanying Massimino on the mission was a rare book loaned from the MIT Libraries’ collections. The book, a limited edition facsimile of Galileo’s landmark publication “Sidereius Nuncius” (Starry Messenger), was chosen to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s astronomical research, the first recorded planetary observations using a telescope.
He presents the well-traveled book to MIT Libraries Director Ann Wolpert. She happily accepts the undamaged book and waives any late fees. The book traveled 5.3 million miles, making 197 orbits of the earth. It is now on display in an exhibit at the MIT Science Library.
“Riding the space shuttle is like strapping yourself to a gigantic beast … I felt like some creature had grabbed me and was taking me somewhere and I had nothing to say about it. It was just the biggest rush of sheer power and acceleration. You go from 0 to 17,500 miles an hour in eight and a half minutes. So this thing has you, and it's going to take you, and thank goodness it knows where it's going.”
– Mike Massimino
Lecture presented by the MIT Libraries; co-sponsored by: Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Technology and Policy Program and the Engineering Systems Division