Comments: 300 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

mergerr24 karma

Do you believe in aliens?

RonGaran31 karma

Statistically speaking, I think they're probably out there somewhere

Adrianxxv2 karma

Asking the real questions.

RonGaran5 karma

Statistically speaking I think they probably exist

RonGaran15 karma

OK folks it was great taking all your questions. I answered every one I saw. I'll circle back a little later and pick up any I may have missed. Thanks for all the great questions!!!

Marty_McFrat14 karma

What is the funniest think you remember happening on the ISS?

Also, was there farting etiquette or did you just kind of let loose?

RonGaran17 karma

NASA doesn't permit off-gassing inside the ISS

Buckeye7010 karma

If you let out a really good one, could you propel yourself around the station???

RonGaran12 karma

I think someone tried that once

Eternally655 karma

What, do they make you go outside for it?

RonGaran8 karma

The don't give you any alternative solutions - they just prohibit it (I'm kidding of course)

Universu13 karma

Will you be in orbit again soon?

RonGaran18 karma

I wish - my NASA days are over. So the only way I'll get back to space is on a commercial space company

Lorben11 karma

If you had the chance to work for a commercial space company and go back into space, would you?

RonGaran15 karma

I would go back to space in a heartbeat!

liamkennedy12 karma

I am someone who believes in the core message of "Orbital Perspective" - and yet - I am at a loss as to how we can have this message / approach make a difference with the thinking that is behind ISIS.

Do you have anything to say about taking on that kind of an issue?

RonGaran20 karma

The principals laid out in "The Orbital Perspective" assume that you can find some level of common ground. It is difficult to find common ground with a group that has the overall goal of total annihilation of anyone who does not subscribe to their opinion and belief. Having said that, another principal in the book is before we can hope to work with people and groups that we don't understand, we must realize the framework we've constructed to view the world and other. We need to stop thinking 2 dimensionally and embrace the 3D orbital perspective which would lead us to understand that even within a terrorist group there will exist people who in addition to hardcore extremists that can't be bargained with, there are also people in those groups not of their own will, or who have been forced in one way or another into the group. The bottom line is we face many very complex issues and we need to resist the tendency to oversimplify the situations into something that is more palatable and really try to understand the underlying factors and history of any situation and what the long-term, big picture impacts will be to any decision we make to deal with those situations.

kronoslol11 karma

Is it true that you cannot achieve a boner in space?

RonGaran24 karma

I know of nothing that happens to the human body on Earth that can't happen in space.

billypmacdonald8 karma

How do you get the world's brightest minds away from building iphone apps, and towards advancing science like during the Cold War?

RonGaran8 karma

One of the best ways is to realize we have about 7 billion creative, problem solving minds on our planet. The vast majority of these people are not connected to the global conversation via the internet. If we are able to economically connect the entire population of the Earth to the internet, solutions and advancements will come from places we've never heard of from people we've never expected to be able to contribute to society.

calvintheanarchist8 karma

Do you think space tourism could be something that one day everyone could do, or will it always be for the very wealthy?

RonGaran8 karma

I hope (and to some extent expect) that space travel will become as common place as air travel. That will be an exciting time because the more people who have the opportunity to see our planet from space, the more people who are able to have an "orbital perspective", the better off we'll all be - I truly believe that.

jjake1017 karma

I am just about to start a Bsc Computer Science degree in September, What can someone like me do to increase my chances of becoming an astronaut?

RonGaran16 karma

I think you're entering a great field. To increase your chances of being selected as an astronaut be the very best you can be in your chosen field, learn how to work with and contribute to a team, and learn how to work with people from other cultures and backgrounds.

Zerb1963 karma

What are some other common fields studied by people that become astronauts? (I'm about to enter college, and I'm not sure what exactly I should study to maximize my chances of working in the space industry one day)

RonGaran2 karma

We have astronauts from many walks of life: pilots, engineers, scientists, teachers, medical doctors, veterinarians, chemists, physicists, etc. Pick one that you love and be the best you can be at it.

Juliette227 karma

In the next 20 years, what changes to you expect to see here on Earth because of having the Orbital Perspective?

RonGaran18 karma

I EXPECT that in the next 20 years every person on the planet will have access to clean water, no one will go to bed hungry every night, no one will die from curable and preventable diseases and every child will receive an education. I expect that because it's possible and we are only limited by our own imagination and our will to act. It is within our collective power to eliminate the suffering and conflict that exists on our planet.

Jokerang7 karma

As a child, what got you fascinated with science?

RonGaran9 karma

The Apollo Moon landings and nature.

mt_winston7 karma

What regular act did you surprisingly find most difficult to do in space?

RonGaran9 karma

Either shaving or cutting hair. Both can be a little messy

Mattthew_7 karma

What would you say is the craziest thing you've seen happen in space? Did you see any strange fish in the deep ocean?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

RonGaran7 karma

The craziest thing was the day the pizza truck showed up

The Aquarius undersea habitat is on a beautiful coral reef teeming with marine life. I wouldn't say I saw any "strange" fish but we did get to know our neighbors and they got to know us which made the experience even more amazing.

senorpapagiorgio7 karma

How would you like to see an $18b NASA budget spent?

RonGaran17 karma

First I would like to see it doubled. I believe that our expenditure on space exploration is the greatest investment we can make for the future of our world. It's an investment we can't afford not to make. I would place a great focus on establishing a transportation infrastructure to enable routine human and robotic travel to and from a permanent human presence on the Moon. This would open the Solar System to exploration. I would also keep a focus on NASA's science mission, helping the commercial spaceflight industry get off the ground, and establish heavy lift capability.

liamkennedy6 karma

Who would you MOST like to meet and spend an hour chatting about Orbital Perspective with?

RonGaran8 karma

I would like to speak with world leaders that exhibit an overly narrow nationalistic focus -regardless of political ideology or geographic location. (Both in the Western world and elsewhere)

liamkennedy5 karma

Oh... I'd love to see "that" list.

I can't help thinking of an entirely different take on the film "The Interview".

Thanks so much for the answer.

RonGaran6 karma

Yeah "The Interview" is not the type of diplomacy that works in the long run.

Osiris326 karma

Mr Garan, thanks for doing this AMA and doing a great job of answering so many questions! A lot of people who do AMAs end up ignoring many comments due to time or interest constraints, it's nice to see someone engaging everyone.

My question: You've been able to fly on both the Shuttle and a Soyuz rocket. Given the considerable differences in technology, design, and control, what overall differences did you notice in the flights? Was one smoother or rougher than the other? Noticeably faster or had a bigger kick on liftoff? More comfortable?

I'm a raving lunatic fanatic when it comes to manned space flight, so getting to hear from someone like yourself who's actually been there, I'm dying to know what it felt like. The personal experience as opposed to the data that comes back from sensors.

RonGaran5 karma

On the Shuttle you feel like you're riding in this massive powerful vehicle (which you are) on the Soyuz, for me, it felt like I was actually wearing the rocket - like the rocket was strapped to my back. Both were a lot of fun. But I think for many reasons (including it was my 2nd flight) the Soyuz was more fun.

heli0sphere5 karma

Do you believe humans will have been on Mars by 2030?

RonGaran3 karma

When I was a kid I thought we'd be there by 1980. We can be on Mars within 10-15 years after we make a firm commitment to go there (with the $ to back up the decision). Since I don't know when we'll make that commitment, I don't know when we'll be there

heli0sphere2 karma

Thanks for the response.

RonGaran2 karma

Wish I had a better answer

mahaanus5 karma

If you could, would you sign up for a fifteen years interplanetary mission (going there - staying for years to do science - then going back again) to Jupiter?

Similarly - would you prefer a Moon base, a Mars base or an interplanetary craft (if budget is limited to one)?

RonGaran3 karma

Do I get to also freeze the aging process?

mahaanus2 karma

No such luck. I expect you'll get an early retirement though (in the good way, if you were younger).

RonGaran2 karma

OK do I get to take my wife?

If_ice_can_burn5 karma

What is the one thing NASA won't tell us about space travel?

RonGaran8 karma

I don't think there's anything that NASA won't tell us. I think there are some things that they should do a better job telling us. Part of the problem is NASA can't really "sell itself" which at times leads to selling itself short. NASA and the other space agencies around the world are making a huge contribution to society.

yes_indeed_so5 karma

Dear Mr Garan, if I read correctly, your opinion after experiencing the overview effect is that "Each and every one of us on this planet has the responsibility to leave it a little better than we found it."

My question is: what do you think is most important and essential in the next steps for humanity? How do you think a person can take on that responsibility?

I would be honored to receive a reply, and I hope you have a great day!

RonGaran7 karma

Many people think they can't make a difference. But solving the biggest problems facing our planet really comes down to how each of us on a person to person basis commits to make a positive change no matter how big or how small. Everyone can make a difference. The analogy I like to make is if an asteroid was heading toward the Earth, and we knew about it soon enough we could fly a small spacecraft out to meet it and with the force equivalent to the weight of a feather applied over enough time, we could nudge the asteroid on a slightly different trajectory that could lead to a miss of 100s or 1000s of miles. Just like that asteroid deflection mission we, through our small (or big) actions, can nudge the trajectory of our global society and put it on a more positive path.

yes_indeed_so2 karma

Wow! Thank you for the answer! I'm an EE student, and if I may ask one more question, how do you think technology will be shaping the future? Do you expect something like technological singularity or do you think that technology will continue to enforce us in our future (space) explorations?

RonGaran3 karma

I think many of the challenges facing our planet have technological solutions. This is why I believe STEM education is so important. It moves us forward on our path to overcome our biggest challenges. The biggest pitfall however is the belief that technology can save us, that technology is a BandAid that we can slap on a problem and it will be fixed. The more our technology advances the more we realize that cultural barriers still remain and we need to do everything in our power to break down the cultural barriers that are preventing us from achieving our potential as a human species

TzarBog5 karma

  1. What are your thoughts on the retirement of the shuttle in 2011?
  2. What was your favorite task or assignment on the ground?
  3. Where do you see NASA, and human spaceflight in particular, in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years?

Thank you!

RonGaran5 karma

I think the decision to retire the Shuttle in order to fund the Moon program was correct. I think the subsequent cancellation of the program designed to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon was a mistake.

My favorite task on the ground was supporting the Shuttle missions as they happened (especially working at the launch pad prior to launch)

NASA in 10: I think we'll have the capability to launch humans beyond LEO In 20: we should have established a cislunar transportation infrastructure in place enabling routine travel between the Earth and the Moon In 30: we should have a permanent human outpost on both Mars and our own moon

TzarBog2 karma

I was expecting a slower schedule than that for lunar missions, considering that the next Orion launch is in 2018. Even more excited now.

RonGaran2 karma

It all depends when we decide to go and how much commitment (and $) we put behind it.

Adam_Smith_4 karma

Should the countries using the ISS invite others like China, India, or maybe even Iran to join them in more of a global effort to explore the solar system ?

RonGaran12 karma

Yes! One of the key ways to move us forward as a global community is to seek out those things that we agree on (like space exploration) and work on those things together. By doing so personal relationships form, some level of trust can be built and once that foundation is built we can start to try to work on the things we don't agree on. But we tend to do the exact opposite. We tend to use the things we agree on to apply leverage to force the issues we don't agree on and this just doesn't work. In the case of the Chinese, they are going to do great things in space with or without the US. We will be able to see what they're doing but we won't really know why they're doing it unless we're doing it with them.

IAmTitsMcGeee4 karma

Hello Mr Garan! Thank you for doing this AMA. What are your views on private citizens, such as Sarah Brightman, paying to visit the International Space Station? Although they undergo months of intensive training, and inject millions into the industry, do you think that space tourists undermine the lifetime of training and devotion undertaken by (professional) astronauts? Thanks!

RonGaran7 karma

I think the more people that go to space and are able to have the opportunity to form and orbital perspective, the better off we'll all be. This is especially true if the people who are going have an ability to express and share the experience. We should be encouraging artists and poets and musicians to travel to space. This could then inspire others, who never get the opportunity to go to space to positive action I am involved with some efforts to do just that. Also I think these activities are helping to launch the commercial spaceflight industry just as the barnstormers helped launch the airline industry


What is the creepiest thing you've witnessed under the ocean? In space?

RonGaran8 karma

Under the ocean: probably stepping very close to a Stingray without knowing it was there In Space: Mold

FasCap3 karma


RonGaran6 karma

it was mold

journeyer884 karma

4 EVAs totally 27 hours? Wow. See anything... strange... up there? (or down there, depending on where I was at the time).

Edit: I am so happy you put Derek Trucks Band on your Fragile Oasis playlist. He is the man.

RonGaran9 karma

The Fragile Oasis community put Derek Trucks on the playlist. I was very grateful for everyone's help putting that together. Music was very important to me in space.

Besides Mike Fossum (@Astro_Aggie) I didn't see anything particularly strange while out on spacewalks

bassplayinben4 karma

Do you think the choice to retire the shuttle was correct? Do you think it was necessary, even though no replacement was ready and wouldn't be ready for years?

RonGaran7 karma

I think the decision to retire the Shuttle in order to fund the Moon program was correct. I think the subsequent cancellation the program designed to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon was a mistake.

Viking1414 karma

Hi Sir. Do you miss flying F16s?

RonGaran5 karma

Yes it is an awesome flying machine!

billypmacdonald4 karma

Will you be on Joe Rogan's podcast?

RonGaran5 karma

Tell me about it please?

billypmacdonald4 karma

Chad Hadfield was a guest on Joe Rogan- IT WAS AMAZING. Love to see you on there someday

RonGaran3 karma

Sounds great count me in!

-Narble-4 karma

Hi Ron! Knowing that you have one of the most unique perspectives of the world as a result of living in space and whatnot, how would you say your ideals and values changed?

RonGaran3 karma

I don't think they changed, I think they were reinforced. I think the view that we all have a responsibility to leave this place a little better than we found it and that we are one human family riding through the Universe together on Spaceship Earth was a view I had when I launched into space. Going to space made this concrete and obvious to me and the experience itself help me to find the words to describe this perspective better. I call this perspective, the orbital perspective.

GalacticAstronaut4 karma

Are there any particular organizations that are doing an especially effective job at accomplishing the kinds of objectives you discuss in The Orbital Perspective book?


RonGaran5 karma

Those organizations that are doing a good job are the ones that: - Don't put too much emphasis on the new and shinny vs. the tried and true - Do things that are financially and politically sustainable - That have rigor in the assessment of their efficacy - Take a long-term view - Have decoupled their operations from limited and constrained resources - realize that you can't look at a specific area in a vacuum - you have to take into account the widest sphere of influence possible. They are the ones that realize that sometimes doing good in one area can cause problems in another and take the necessary steps to prevent that from happening.

So as not to leave any great orgs out I won't name names because I don't want my failure to mention an org as a signal they're not doing a good job.

diamondisjustcarbon4 karma

what happens if you (have to) sneeze in a space suit?

RonGaran10 karma

Your helmet gets all messed up.

Hippyhipo4 karma

How much time overall did you spend on space walks?

RonGaran8 karma

Hold on I have to Google it

RonGaran8 karma

Wikipedia says: 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA in four spacewalks - that sounds about right.

diamondisjustcarbon4 karma

Is there a protocol in case of death in space?

RonGaran8 karma

Yes every astronaut has to fill out detailed plans on what needs to be done in case of his/her death.

Jatexi4 karma

Hey, Ron!

I have been interested in Space for a long time, and this year I promised myself I will help out in any way I can with space exploration and that I would go to space at least once in my lifetime.

How should I go about these goals? What degrees would be useful to pursue?

Thank you so much for this AMA, Ron!

RonGaran6 karma

The best advice I can give you is to find something that you truly love to do and be the very best you can be at it. I know this sounds trite but it is really true. Don't pick a major or career based on what you think will give you the best chance to become an astronaut. Pick the path that is best for you and that will actually increase your chances because you will naturally excel at what you love. Having said that, hopefully your interests lie in a technical field because having a technical background (with a solid STEM academic background) is still a requirement

yes_indeed_so3 karma

Thanks again for your time do this AMA, Ron!

Did you see Interstellar?

RonGaran3 karma

You're welcome it's been fun and yes I did see Interstellar.

iTomate3 karma

What's your favorite sandwich on/around earth?

RonGaran4 karma

Corned Beef

Ableyoungthug3 karma

How do you feel about the war on drugs?

RonGaran3 karma

I think the word "War" implies a failure of sorts. I think drug abuse and the crime and violence that go with it continue to be big problems that must be dealt. But we must deal with them in a way that keeps the big picture and long-term view first and foremost. Again we tend to oversimplify things and lump those suffering from drug addition into the same category as those responsible for supplying illegal drugs. There are no quick fixes or bandaid solutions to drug abuse. We need to take the focus off of highlighting short term gains that have a good appearance but don't really move the needle in the long-term

RonGaran3 karma

I believe I have answered every question and sub question asked. If I missed any please repost and I'll answer. Thanks for the great questions.

somethingasaur3 karma

Did you do something up there that made you think: "Wow, I'm probably the first human being to do that in space."?

RonGaran4 karma

All the time - but only as a joke

Frajer3 karma

What's scarier space or the deep ocean?

RonGaran7 karma

They both have their share of danger but what far exceeds the danger is the awe that both environments inspire. Both experiences left me breathless at times

DreadPirateReynolds3 karma

What inspired you to become an astronaut, and what path did you take to get there?

RonGaran6 karma

I was inspire to become an astronaut on July 20th 1969 the day of the first Moon landing. I wanted to be a part of exploring the Solar System. I took the traditional path: I was a military fighter pilot and test pilot with a degree in engineering. That path is no longer required. There are many paths today to become an astronaut

Notmanenough23 karma

As an aspiring astronaut, I've always felt self-conscious about my being tall necessary as an astronaut?

WJacobC3 karma

I'm not Mr. Garan, but you must be between 62 and 75 inches. You can also read the complete list of requirements.

RonGaran6 karma

Thanks WJacobC for jumping in there. I would say though that even if you don't meet one of the requirements don't let that stop you from trying. I didn't meet all the requirements when I first applied. Requirements can change and there's always the possibility of a waiver

mt_winston3 karma

What would your favourite planet be? :)

RonGaran7 karma


Universu3 karma

What is the most beautiful site on earth as seen from ISS?

RonGaran8 karma

It's hard to pick one but the Caribbean, Himalayas and the Med stand out for sure

Universu3 karma

Was there a plan before to bring back the modules of ISS back on earth again instead of just deorbiting it?

RonGaran4 karma

Not that I know of.

letdogsvote3 karma

Most profound or moving experience?

RonGaran3 karma

Do I have to say just one?

letdogsvote2 karma

Nope! Have at it.

RonGaran3 karma

The spacewalks were all very moving as was the launches (both on the Shuttle and the Soyuz) The Soyuz ride home through the atmosphere was definitely moving (in more ways than one).

topofthebottompile3 karma

Which Oceanic species do you think would make the best roommate?

RonGaran5 karma

Groupers of course!

topofthebottompile3 karma

Ah, yes! Clean eaters and awesome at vacuuming. Obvious choice.

RonGaran2 karma

We had 2 ~400 pounders we called Stella and Lucy. They make great pets.

Colvanila3 karma

Hey Ron! Thanks for coming! Quick question: what's your favorite and least favorite thing about being in space?

RonGaran4 karma

Favorite thing: Floating while taking in the amazing view Least favorite thing: I can't take my friends and family with me (except for the friends that happen to be astronauts)

Blue_Turtle133 karma

What would you say is the biggest, but greatest, difference between space and the ocean? (Both places we know few about)

RonGaran3 karma

There a re a lot of similarities - both are hostel environments where we need to rely on our life support systems to keep us alive. Both require a significant amount of time to return to the surface of the Earth in the event of an emergency (17 hours in the case of saturation undersea missions) but the main difference is the sea is teeming with life. The only life forms I saw on my space missions were the ones we brought with us.

Universu3 karma

Will we see the first US Commercial Crew Vehicle (USCV1) after STS135 flying before April 5, 2017 in order not to surpass the Apollo Soyuz Test Program (ASTP) to STS1 Gap of about 5 years 8 months 27days?

RonGaran5 karma

That's a great question - I wish I had an answer. I hope so...

greg_focker3 karma

What was your favorite meal in space?

RonGaran3 karma

Spaggetti and meat sauce

greg_focker2 karma

One tube for the spaghetti and one tube for the sauce? Or are they combined into one tube?

RonGaran2 karma

One plastic bag - the Russians fly canned food which more resembles food.

waker4life3 karma

What was the hardest part about returning to Earth after an expedition in space?

RonGaran8 karma

Gravity - it sucks!

richardwrinkle3 karma

Do you think we will begin underwater habitats for humans anytime soon?

RonGaran3 karma

I sure hope so - we have an ocean to explore out there!

OhHelloPlease3 karma

Favorite Hubble image?

RonGaran5 karma

I love them all but the Horsehead Nebula inspire wonder and awe more than most.

vensamape3 karma

Do you think that having space RVs in the future (either it be near or far) could ever be a thing?

RonGaran3 karma

Do you mean Recreational Vehicles?

vensamape2 karma

Yes. Sorry for the confusion. Basically, is living in space possible? Will technology ever allow us to do so? Or is it a must be on some sort of planet in order to live?

RonGaran4 karma

We've had a continuos human presence in space since the year 2000. We've had people live in space for over a year at a time and we're about to have another year-long mission. It's not only possible it's a reality - now.

Universu3 karma

With an Orbital Perspective you have gotten the overview effect of internalizing on what is good for all of us, What should be the number one thing that a person could do to care for this Fragile Oasis?

RonGaran7 karma

The 1st step to being able to affect real change is to believe that real change is possible. We need to abandon the doom and gloom mindset and realize that we have within our grasp the capability to build the future we want. We have the capability to provide the basic needs of every living thing on this planet. We need to realize that we don't have to accept the status quo on our planet - we can change it.

trevitino3 karma

Have you had much time to play any videos games? I'm working on Mass Effect 2 right now and it's an interesting plotline in space

RonGaran5 karma

No I actually seldom, if ever, play video games. I have nothing against them I just don't have a lot of free time (maybe someday)

WJacobC3 karma

Hello Mr. Garan! Thanks for doing the AMA. I'm currently a high school student with aspirations of serving as an American astronaut. Therefore, my first question to you is what advice would you give to someone my age looking to be an astronaut? Do you have a recommended college major or high school classes you feel especially helped you? Would you recommend the military or civilian path? I'm currently leaning towards the Air Force, either the Academy or AFROTC, but I still have over a year to make my final choice. I see that you were a fighter pilot before working for NASA. Can you explain what that whole process was like?

Also, what are your thoughts on Commercial Crew and NASA's current path to Mars?

Thanks again!

RonGaran5 karma

The best advice I can give you is to find something that you truly love to do and be the very best you can be at it. I know this sounds trite but it is really true. Don't pick a major or career based on what you think will give you the best chance to become an astronaut. Pick the path that is best for you and that will actually increase your chances because you will naturally excel at what you love. Having said that, hopefully your interests lie in a technical field because having a technical background (with a solid STEM academic background) is still a requirement. - good luck WJacobC

TheOfficialAvenger3 karma

What is your favorite salad dressings?

RonGaran5 karma

Russian - no, scratch that - Thousand Island

LazyBones_3 karma

Mr. Garan, could you describe the feeling of floating in space, looking down at the Earth before you?

RonGaran6 karma

It was a feeling of detachment. I spend a whole chapter in The Orbital Perspective" sharing that experience. In short, it was a profound feeling of detachment while simultaneously feeling deeply interconnected with every person on the planet. It is what I describe as "elevated empathy".

mt_winston3 karma

deGrasse Tyson said he hopes to live to find out what "dark matter" is.

Is there a field of astronomical studies that you cannot wait to find out the answer to?

RonGaran3 karma

The possibility of life out there, in our Solar System or beyond is something that excites me. But even more important than that is applying space technology and research to solve the problems facing us here on this planet.

GalacticAstronaut2 karma

Recent rapid progress with both 1) researching existence of past or living organisms on Mars and on Europa and 2) discovering exoplanets (planets beyond our Solar System), plus continuous advancement of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
lead me to believe more and more that in a 10-20 year timeline, we may find proof that we're not alone. Less likely in 5-10 years, but much more likely by 20-30 years from now.
Finding existence of a civilization orbiting another star will be a profound game-changer, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened in the lifetime of someone who's 20 years old today. Having lots of STEM-proficient folks (hint, hint students) will help make that happen.

RonGaran3 karma

Hope it doesn't turn out like all the sci-fi movies.

Universu3 karma

What is the story behind your shuttle music Fly Away and All Because of You?

RonGaran4 karma

Those were the songs that were played as my wakeup music on STS-124. "Fly Away" was picked by my wife and was played the morning of one of our spacewalks (not really good to sing about flying away before doing a spacewalk - just kidding I didn't even make that connection at the time). I picked "All Because of You" because I really identified with the words of the song in relation to this, my first space mission.

CanYouLemon3 karma

What did you enjoy more? Space or the ocean?

RonGaran3 karma

I enjoyed them both very much but space is more unique and the experience is much harder to get. I could get a taste of living on the bottom of the ocean when I went scuba diving. There really is no way to get a taste of living in space without actually going there. I'm working on a project called Star Harbor to try to change that

diamondisjustcarbon3 karma

Has there ever been any form of money in space?

RonGaran4 karma

Kona Coffee

Entropius3 karma

Based on previous AMA's, we know some engineers at NASA, ULA, and SpaceX, etc, play the game Kerbal Space Program, but do many astronauts?

RonGaran5 karma

Sorry I don't know the answer to that. I've never played any space video games since Asteroids and Galatica.

SherrickM3 karma

Having seen both deep space and deep water, which one felt weirder to be looking out a window at? Can you describe the feeling of watching some crazy looking fish swim by that quite possibly the only people to see are the people with you? Likewise, what reaction would you have if that happened in space?

RonGaran3 karma

At first space probably felt "weirder" only because I had nothing to compare it to. But both were amazingly awe-inspiring. I could endlessly float and stare at the Earth from space and I could endlessly watch the marine life through the port hole on Aquarius. If I saw some life outside the window on the ISS, I think my first reaction would be to grab a camera.

Breccles3 karma

If you never became an astronaut, where would you have gone as far as work is concerned?

RonGaran3 karma

I was very happy with my career as a fighter pilot and test pilot before I became an astronaut. I likely would have continued that career for awhile but I believe I still would have gone down the path of social enterprise and seek to create sustainable business solution to our world's biggest problems.

BAC913 karma

Hello, my name is Bryan. I've always been fascinated with space. What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a career in astronomy?

RonGaran5 karma

My advice is to find something you love and be the very best you can be at it. Sounds like you've already done that. Astronomy is a very rewarding field of study. The possibilities are endless (literally)

oasisexpat3 karma

What do you think about the MarsOne project?

RonGaran9 karma

I don't think humans should go to Mars until there's an option for a return trip. My 2 cents...

oasisexpat3 karma

What are some of the similarities between the ocean floor and space that most people don't think about?

RonGaran4 karma

There a re a lot of similarities - both are hostel environments where we need to rely on our life support systems to keep us alive. Both require a significant amount of time to return to the surface of the Earth in the event of an emergency (17 hours in the case of saturation undersea missions) but the main difference is the sea is teeming with life. The only life forms I saw on my space missions were the ones we brought with us.

MarsColony_in10years3 karma

How can I make the largest contribution to the Mars effort? These are the categories I'm using for my decision making:

  • Political lobbying: I could devote my life to trying to impact the decisions of congress, and convince them that going to Mars is a good thing for humanity.

  • Rally public support: Produce documentaries, memes, books, etc to persuade the public to support funding a Mars mission, base, and eventually a colony.

  • Direct funding: Robert Bigelow and Elon Musk both used their own money to fund large aerospace companies. I could attempt a smaller startup with the aim of developing smaller pieces of infrastructure for Mars habitation and eventual colonization. Alternatively, I could just try to make as much money as possible and donate it all to SpaceX, NASA, or one of the Mars advocacy groups.

  • Crowdsourcing: Zooniverse has built several online platforms, one of which allows anyone to help analyze features of Mars from satellite imagery. It’s easy to imagine crowdsourcing other pieces of Mars-related research. Maybe by selling cheap clinostats so amateurs can grow different types of plants in simulated Mars gravity, or maybe by building CubeSats on rotating tethers for more realistic Mars gravity simulations on plants and small animals.

So, what are your thoughts on this sort of thing? Are there other options I should also be considering? And most importantly, are there any implicit assumptions I may be making which are false?

RonGaran5 karma

Why do you have to pick one? They all sound like powerful ways to help propel us on a path to explore the Solar System. They are not mutually exclusive - rather they compliment each other very well. Thanks for helping to move us forward.

threeedog3 karma

What do you enjoy doing in your free time nowadays?

RonGaran4 karma

Kerbal Space Program

No but I just looked it up. It looks cool!

LilyoftheRally3 karma

I apologize if this has already been asked, but I wanted to catch you before you left.

Can you talk about your experience with the Overview Effect while you were in orbit? I really enjoyed the short film Overview and I remember you were one of the astronauts in it.

RonGaran3 karma

If the overview effect is the change in perception that some astronauts report from seeing our Earth from space and in space - the orbital perspective is what you do with that shift in perspective. The Orbital Perspective is the call to action from the overview effect. I talk about that quite a bit in my book, "The Orbital Perspective"

Frankieba2 karma

Funniest story from your various adventures?

RonGaran2 karma

Besides ordering pizza from space?