“Riding the space shuttle is like strapping yourself to a gigantic beast….you go from 0 to 17,500 miles per hour in eight and a half minutes,” MIT alumnus, Astronaut Mike Massimino said in a talk at MIT last month.
After nearly 3 years of training, in May 2009 Massimino rocketed 5.3 million miles into space on a mission to repair NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The veteran astronaut spoke about the extensive preparation for the journey, as well as the risks and thrills that were a part of the historic final trip to Hubble.
He also returned an item to MIT that he took into space with him—a book loaned from the MIT Libraries’ collections. The book, a limited edition facsimile of Galileo’s landmark publication Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), was chosen to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s astronomical research, the first recorded planetary observations using a telescope. It is on display through December 2009 in the Science Library (14S-134).
Astronaut Massimino’s talk was sponsored by the MIT Libraries, the Technology and Policy Program (TPP)/ Engineering Systems Division (ESD), and Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.