Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 28 - 2017

Book 28: Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino – 317 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Mike Massimino's compelling memoir takes us on a brilliant journey where the nerdiest science meets the most thrilling adventure to reveal what 'the right stuff' truly is. Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up, but when NASA rejected him, he kept on trying. Even being told his poor eyesigh would mean he could never make it didn't stop him; he simply trained his eyes to be better. Finally, at the third time of asking, NASA accepted him.
So began Massimino's 18-year career as an astronaut, and the extraordinary lengths he went to to get accepted was only the beginning. In this awe-inspiring memoir, he reveals the hard work, camaraderie and sheer guts involved in the life of an astronaut; he vividly describes what it is like to strap yourself into the Space Shuttle and blast off into space, or the sensation of walking in space, as he did when he embarked on an emergency repair of the Hubble telescope. He also talks movingly about the Columbia tragedy, and how it felt to step into the Space Shuttle again in the aftermath of that disaster.
Massimino was inspired by the film The Right Stuff, and this book is not only a tribute to those fellow astronauts he worked with, but also a stunning example of someone who had exactly those attributes himself.

I love all things space, having grown up on Star Trek. While doing my Masters degree in International Relations, I rekindled this fascination in light of the ongoing development of human space flight. Accordingly, I started picking up more and more space related books. This one is the memoir of American astronaut Mike Massimino, famous as much for being an astronaut as he is for his random appearances on sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (where he plays, you guessed it, an astronaut!). Massimino is a good storyteller, evidence by the fact that he now does a lot of work for N.A.S.A in public relations. In this memoir, he not only covers how he became an astronaut and his time in space (he did a lot of work on Hubble helping ensure it could keep on taking photos; he also famously had to manhandle a piece of damaged equipment on a space walk while trying to fix the famous telescope), but his time afterwards, working with the Big Bang Theory and in representing N.A.S.A to the media and the community. Massimino comes across as a nice, kind gentle giant of a guy, and its good to know that people such as him are out there, not only helping unlock the mysteries of the universe, but encouraging the next generation to get interested in space. The first of many astronaut memoirs I intend to read while preparing to write my thesis on space politics.

28 / 50 books. 56% done!

11484 / 15000 pages. 77% done!

Currently reading:
- For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today
by Jedediah Purdy – 214 pages
- The Lexus and the Olive Tree
by Thomas Friedman – 378 pages
- Twelve Sharp
by Janet Evanovich – 413 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- The Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood – 324 pages
Tags: autobiography, science

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