NASA astronaut Michael Foale visited MSU’s campus on Sept. 10 to give a talk to about 400 students and faculty. State News features reporter Alexis Stark sat down with Foale to ask him about the time he’s spent in space.
What were the biggest differences between living on earth and in space?
“You have this fantastic view, a fantastic viewpoint of the earth. It’s just like looking out the car window as you go through the west. You’re going to be looking and enjoying everything you see.”
What is a typical day for you while in orbit?
“You wake up, rub your eyes and all the rest. People have different morning habits, but I would pretty quickly put my shorts on and float across to the radio. We’d have a conference with Houston about half an hour before our daily work.”
What kinds of food did you eat while in space?
“NASA basically took the MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) and made it more compact. Meats, macaroni and cheese, ravioli — these are all products we heat up with hot water, or if it’s a meal-ready ration like, the best example, and irradiated steak. We actually get steaks. You can imagine a steak straight off the grill on Earth and put it into a silver foil wrapper.”
What skills or things you learned do you think helped prepare you for the challenges you faced in space?
“The good fortune I had was parents who stimulated my interest in STEM subjects. The good fortune was also a fairly happy — yeah, I grumbled a lot — but a happy approach to family holidays and vacations going outdoors."