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Meeting two astronauts, 30 years apart

When I was 4 or 5 I met an astronaut. A cousin of my father's was his driver. I guess back then astronauts had drivers because they couldn't be trusted to drive a car - in case they thought it was a rocket. I don't think we talked much. He shook hands with me. And then he talked to my mother. He had spent 2 days in space in total. I'd have called this a weekend joy ride, as a grown up. But then, he had to abort the mission, so not quite the joy ride I'd have imagined. No surprise they wouldn't trust him with driving a car. 

About 30 years later I met my second astronaut. This was a proper one - he had spent 178 days in space. I met him at a conference and shared a dinner table with him. I asked him what was the most impressive thing he had seen from the windows of the International Space Station, looking down back to Earth. He said the most beautiful sight from space were the islands of the Caribbean - sparkling and turquoise in colour. I took a photo with him at the end of the evening. None of us was turquoise in that photo but I think I was sparkling.  

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  • abort
  • the mission
  • back to Earth
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