I have to head out for a Facebook Live over at Space.com (check it out on their Facebook!), but thanks for your questions! You can read more in Spaceman, it's out everywhere today.

Hey Reddit! I’m Mike Massimino. I was a NASA astronaut from 1996-2014 and flew in space twice: STS-109 on space shuttle Columbia in March 2002 and STS-125 on space shuttle Atlantis in May 2009 – the final two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. I was the first human to tweet from space and the last human to work inside of Hubble, and my crewmates and I set a team record for the most cumulative spacewalking time in a single space shuttle mission. If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you may have seen me playing myself on the show.

I write about my unlikely journey to become an astronaut and my crazy stories from space in my new book Spaceman. You can get it now at the links below. Ask me anything about my time on Earth, my time in space, or my book!

Proof: https://twitter.com/Astro_Mike/status/781565734426140672

You can get Spaceman here: https://www.amazon.com/Spaceman-Astronauts-Unlikely-Journey-Universe/dp/1101903546/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8


Comments: 95 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

bill_a_delphia11 karma

Hi Mike - You are my favorite guest-host on Startalk - you and NDT have a great chemistry. My question is: with the transition from government-led to private sector-led space exploration, do you think the role of the Astronaut will change? Especially as we try to go beyond the moon to mars (and farther)?

MikeMassimino18 karma

Thank you, any time I am around NDT I have a great time. Answer: yes - I think it will change and it already has. In the future it wont only be astronauts flying for their country in space, it will be astronauts flying for private companies (like pilots flying for an airline) and tourists. I look forward to that future golden age of space travel where the opportunities to fly in space are open to more people.

happygot9 karma

Did you find that your perception of time varied with those of your crewmates? As in, without the typical 24 hour cycle to ground you, did you experience "jetlag" or tiredness that others did, or vice versa? Or did you have regulated sleeping schedules?

MikeMassimino8 karma

all depends on the sleep shift required. My first mission required a big sleep shift because we had a night launch, second mission not as much. Was more tired on the first mission as a result.

lars24587 karma

What film/show/book does the most accurate job of portraying what it's like to be an astronaut in space?

MikeMassimino19 karma

Apollo 13 was the most accurate, one of my favorite books and movies. I also absolutely love The Right Stuff.

chandlersdame7 karma

Hi Astro Mike! Ray Bradbury is my favorite sci-fi author. Did you read or watch sci-fi when you were a kid? Did it influence your desire to become an astronaut?

MikeMassimino15 karma

Yes - I loved Jules Verne and Star Trek as a kid, and Star Wars as an adult,

ruthie1476 karma

Hi Mike, I absolutely adored the piece you wrote about fixing the Hubble and feeling alone up in space. What kind of reaction did you get from friends and family? Did it inspire you to write your new book?

MikeMassimino9 karma

Thank you! Lots of people liked it, including my fellow astronauts. It did inspire me to write a book because it showed me how much fun it could be to share the experience of flying in space through the written work

Slimongi3 karma

I'm so curious about your thoughts when you flew into outer space for the very first time and seeing Earth from thousands of miles away. Were you nervous, excited, anxious?

MikeMassimino8 karma

It was the most beautiful sight I have seen, words cannot describe it, but I tried to use words anyway in my book and you can read an excerpt about it here: http://www.readitforward.com/longform/spaceman/

buducrew773 karma

How's the WiFi in space?

MikeMassimino9 karma

Slow very slow, unlike the spaceship which is fast

volleyjosh3 karma

What is Neil Tyson like?

MikeMassimino12 karma

He is a great friend and a great guy, and really smart. Will be doing NY Comicon with him Thursday. He also was kind enough to write a great blurb for my book - you can see it on the back cover.

hood1e2 karma

Hey mike, couple questions.

  1. What do you think is the most drastic change from earth gravity to 0g?

  2. What are some ways to deal with them?

  3. Funniest moment in space?

  4. Finally, what are some thing you would bring/do in space that you think would surprise us?

Thanks for doing this IAMA!!

MikeMassimino5 karma

  1. being able float and not having to walk to get around
  2. Go slowly, especially at first because you can get out of control easily while floating
  3. Watching my buddy Drew Feustel make a burrito - by the way Happy National Taco Day!
  4. I brought a home plate from Shea Stadium in NY - Lets Go Mets!!

69killerdad2 karma

When you went to space did you think "Wow we are actually on quite a small planet and we are way more vulnerable then we think we are" ? because i have heard that some other astronauts said this also umh what do you eat/drink in outer space ^ ?

MikeMassimino4 karma

We certainly are vulnerable and that went through my mind, but also we are so lucky to have such a beautiful planet to live on. I love the food in space, I was one of the few astronauts who gained weight in space - some of my favorites: shrimp cocktail, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and chocolate fudge cake..... no wonder I gained weight.

happygot2 karma

Was there ever at any point you considered becoming something other than an astronaut? Or was this always your dream? (If so, well done!)

MikeMassimino5 karma

Yes, I dreamed about being an astronaut as a little boy, but not while I was in HS and college, after college I was working as an engineer and then decided to try to be an astronaut. If I couldnt be an astronaut I wanted to be an engineering professor in a university, which is what I get to do now at Columbia

sweetknucklesally2 karma

Good Afternoon Mike; Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. How are you doing? I hope it’s not bad form to ask a lot of questions, it’s not my intent to be a question hog! I’m interested in space and haven’t had the opportunity to ask questions of an astronaut before…

  • I pre-ordered your book on Thursday and received the give-away items on Friday, fantastic fulfillment time – thank you! Is that really your signature on the bookplate or just a facsimile?

  • It appears the dynamic between you and Don Pettit on the I.S.S. mailbag segments is that of old, goofy friends and it’s very entertaining to watch. Are the both of you really friends outside of work?

  • Are there more I.S.S. mailbag & Science Garage episodes in production?

  • Am I correct in assuming that when you’re in the astronaut corps your health is constantly monitored and you have unfettered access to the best healthcare professionals? Did you have to pay insurance & co-pays, or does being a NASA astronaut put you in a position where all of that’s “on the house”? Now that you’re retired do you have to jump through the same healthcare hoops as the rest of us, or do you get NASA quality care for life as a benefit?

  • Even though you’re given a clean bill of health before you fly I would think that everyone has some aches and pains associated with age, do all of those go away after spending a few days without gravity?

MikeMassimino6 karma

That is my signature! I spent a weekend this summer signing thousands of them. Don Pettit and I are great friends, all-time great friends still We hope to do more episodes, would you watch them We have great health care but still must carry health insurance, not on the house Aches pains go away in zero gravity but worse with age on Earth

nottsgal2 karma

Do you have to pay tax when you are off planet? And do you still get wages every month or is it a bonus when you get home - always wondered how that works

MikeMassimino9 karma

Income taxes yes, sales tax no - there is nothing to buy up there...unless you sop online They still pay us while in space, but we dont get any overtime or even harzardous duty pay

Amber23912 karma

What was astronaut training like?

MikeMassimino9 karma

Pardon the pun, but it was a blast! As a civilian astronaut it open up a new world and life of adventure. One day I was in a classroom teaching and a few months later I was breaking the sound barrier in a T-38 high performance jet aircraft.

jjrodr12062 karma

What's it like adjusting to the gravity of earth after completing a mission?

MikeMassimino6 karma

You need to take it slow as your body and brain re-adjusts. Particularly the vestibular system which works due to gravity and does not work in space. When I got back I felt off balance like I was about to fall over.

Micaityl2 karma

What were your first thoughts on sending out a tweet from space? Did you think it would work from the beginning or were you skeptical about the idea?

MikeMassimino7 karma

I liked it because it is a great way to share the experience of flying in space with lots of people. I liked the idea from the start. My tweet was also made fun of on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Up, which is the only reason my kids paid attention to my spaceflight

huge_ox2 karma

How did gravity or lack of it, affect your body from a personal perspective?

Would you do it all again if you could?

did you enjoy your scenes on the big bang theory?

MikeMassimino9 karma

In space I didnt feel so well the first day, my spine grew 1.5 inches from lack of gravity, and I felt stuffy. All got better by day 2

Yes I would do it again but Im happy I got to do it at all

Loved my scenes on the big bang theory, they are like a second family

FanOfGoodMovies2 karma

Would citizens writing their congressmen help address concerns with NASA's managment, funding and capabilities?

MikeMassimino6 karma

Writing members of congress is always a good idea, in my experience they want to hear from us,

space_vogel2 karma

Is there something you would like general public to know or acknowledge about astronauts that's usually not talked about much?

MikeMassimino6 karma

Yes - the bond and friendships between astronauts are the strongest I have ever experienced, time cannot break those bonds, my fellow astronauts are the best group of people I have ever known

RyanWVoll1 karma

Good Afternoon Mike,

Will you be doing a book signing tour across Canada?

MikeMassimino3 karma

Would love to, hopefully soon

zcrazyman1-1 karma

Are women allowed to drive in space?

MikeMassimino6 karma

Of course, just ask Eileen Collins, Pam Melroy, Peggy Whitson, Megan McArthur-Behnken, etc etc etc.......