Amy holds a Bachelor's degree with combined honours in History of Science and Technology and Classics (U. of King's College and Dalhousie University) and a Master's degree in Science and Technology Studies (York University).

Amy has had a lifelong passion for spaceflight, researching for a second-grade project on Venus, she was captivated by a cartoon image of two astronauts on the Moon and had to know everything about the Apollo program. She specialized in space history throughout her academic life, culminating in her MA thesis about the little-known Gemini-Rogallo wing.

University life, however, held little allure for Amy, and so she turned her back on academia in favour of popular science writing. She began with her blog, Vintage Space, and soon parlayed that into a career as a science writer with a solid focus on spaceflight history. She’s written for more than a dozen websites, has been an expert interviewee on a half dozen TV shows, and still maintains her blog and YouTube channel, now called The Vintage Space. This is her second book. Her first, Breaking the Chains of Gravity, came out in 2015.

Her interests go well beyond space. She also loves early aviation, early technological evolutions, and she's endlessly fascinated with mid-century America. She also loves punk rock, boxing, bowling, old movies, thinks fashion can be immensely powerful, and still plays her Super Nintendo. Born in Toronto, Canada, she lives in Pasadena, California, with her (adult) kitten, Pete Conrad.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/0toxln7t4sh41.jpg

Comments: 471 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

anotheruser30149 karma

Who gave the first concrete proof that space flight was possible using rockets?

amyshirateitel250 karma

That would have to be Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. He was the first to show that rockets could leave the Earth, and he's generally regarded as the father of modern rocketry (along with Goddard and Oberth).

LBJ4USA109 karma

How would you describe the differences between the Soviet and US space programmes?

amyshirateitel198 karma

There's a lot to say here, but in short, I think the main difference is that America separated the space program from its military roots whereas the Soviets kept space technology developments closely linked. It meant that the Soviets didn't need to duplicate things to get into space while America divided its efforts.

ComfortableSun2101 karma

If NASA or a private company offered, would you go into space?

amyshirateitel161 karma

Yes! But just space. I wouldn't go to Mars. I'm not ready to abandon the people I love on Earth!

SensibleCreeper53 karma

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SterlingTravelr36 karma

I'd think she'd take Pete with her

amyshirateitel43 karma

Yeah, cats don't do well in space, but it'd be so cute to have space adventures with Amy and Pete!

MatthiasMlw72 karma

how's pete?

amyshirateitel110 karma

He's excellent! Currently chasing a laser pointer as I attempt to distract him from trying to break into my kitchen cabinets.

ThePrussianGrippe22 karma

I love it when cats are named after real people. It makes telling them to get down off the refrigerator so much funnier.

amyshirateitel18 karma

That is definitely true!

baronmad56 karma

What is your take on the re-emergance of people who believe the earth is flat?

amyshirateitel115 karma

Confusion, mainly! I get the flat Earth idea if we're talking about ancient concepts of the cosmos, but anything post-ancient Greeks who knew the Earth was round because of watching ships disappear over the horizon... I don't get it! There are a lot of instances of things where the proof is staring people right in the face and they still choose to ignore it. This seems like one of those instances, and no part of me understands the benefit! Yeah. Confusion.

Passi0natelyC0nfused53 karma

What would you say is the coolest experience you've had when studying/being an expert on spaceflight?

And best rock band? 🤔

amyshirateitel109 karma

Coolest experience... there's a lot! But I might say being part of the New Horizons team for a summer. Being in the room for the big team meetings every morning and being among the first people to see the close-up images of Pluto, that was amazing. And I loved bringing it to people through the short "Pluto in a Minute" videos! Sharing how cool that mission was was so much fun.

Best rock band? I'll take that to mean my favourites... It depends on the day sometimes, but my top are Rancid, Jimmy Eat World (Clarity is so perfect!), the Interrupters, The Specials, old Foo Fighters... The list could go on!

es_no_real8 karma

Were you there for the NYE thing?! Dr. May was the best!

amyshirateitel12 karma

I wasn't; I was only involved in the initial flyby.

Passi0natelyC0nfused6 karma

That must have been amazing to work closely with the team, especially on the NH mission. The atmosphere in there must have been incredible haha.

A few I haven't heard of in there, I might have to broaden my musical horizons there (excuse that painful pun).

Edit - what would you say is the most interesting/exciting up and coming mission or launch?

amyshirateitel14 karma

I'm excited about some concept missions that might get funding, like the mission to Titan or Venus. There are so many amazing places in our cosmic backyard we don't know much about yet. Those are the missions I'm most excited about and hope they get funded!

Snowyguy46 karma

Hi! I loved your 'Pluto in a Minute' series back when the New Horizons fly-by happened. How was the process of working with NASA?

amyshirateitel55 karma

Super cool! Honestly, I felt like such a (nerdy) badass with my fancy badge and stuff... heh. It was amazing to me to be able to talk to the science leads about specific things and make sure I really understood what was happening. Like learning how the trajectory worked. I get it, but only superficially. Getting to sit down with the brilliant woman (whose name escapes me right now!) who designed the flight path was wild. I felt honoured to play even a small role in bringing that excitement to the public.

original_greaser_bob31 karma

why does Amy talk about herself in the third person?

amyshirateitel56 karma

Amy doesn't. Amy's gettin' upset! (Seinfeld)

flypinoy722 karma

Hi Amy!

Just curious if you finished watching For All Mankind and any thoughts you had about it regarding its accuracy and any concepts that exist in real life? Thanks!

amyshirateitel31 karma

I did finish the first season! I liked it more as it got further into the alternate timeline (I was able to suspend my disbelief more) but still felt like there were a lot of moments that made sense for the storyline but just didn't line up for any kind of reality. And really, that's my issue with a lot of sci-fi, which is why I don't watch much!

Chazmer873 karma

Care to elaborate a bit?

geo_prog3 karma

Watch her YouTube series on it!

amyshirateitel16 karma

I was going to reply with those links! I did a couple of YouTube videos about it.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIuWyZpGHy4&t=3s

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw5RPeLjCVg&t=4s

crashfrog18 karma

I'm a huge fan of KSP Interstellar, Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets site, and the interstellar spacecraft depicted at the beginning of Avatar. Is there an angle where you'd consider releasing content about the history of imagined future spaceflight?

amyshirateitel19 karma

Absolutely! That's actually part of broadening to The Vintage Space -- exploring vintage things that aren't strictly spaceflight. Tons of neat stuff to explore! Now I just need the time and brain space to do it...

SousVideFTCPolitics16 karma

John Aaron is widely (and correctly) credited with saving Apollo 12 with his "set SCE to AUX" call after the lightning strike. But my question is, how difficult was this call? Would other people have been able to make it, on the spot, and as quickly as he did?

If the spacecraft's signals are coming back jumbled, it seems to me that activating the secondary signal conditioning system would be the obvious choice for debugging. But perhaps he was the only EECOM who knew about this secondary system.

amyshirateitel23 karma

I don't think anyone could have made the call as fast as he did because he was one of the only, if not the only, person who'd looked into that jumbly data when it showed up in a test. It's very telling that no one but Al Bean even knew what the switch was! If he hadn't been there someone would have solved it, but it's a good thing he was on console!

mclare14 karma

What’s the best place to love space in Toronto?

amyshirateitel21 karma

Probably the Science Centre! I haven't been in ages, but I recall excellent IMAX movies exploring the universe, and great exhibits about the solar system.

guyherbert14 karma

Hello and thanks for doing this AMA.

How often do you find yourself being asked about the flat Earth and moon landing conspiracy theories and how do you respond to those?

amyshirateitel33 karma

Flat Earth not so much, but Moon landing conspiracies all the time! I get daily YouTube comments about Moon landing hoaxes, people coming to talks to ask about it... It's why I have a playlist on my YouTube channel pulling together my proof videos. If anyone asks I just share that playlist!

IGotABananaForXmas13 karma

I used to watch you Vintage Space all the time some years ago. What is your favorite anecdote in space flight history?

amyshirateitel30 karma

Definitely the Apollo 12 tuna incident -- Dick Gordon wanted to eat a can of tuna that had been open for hours, and it turned into an hour-long discussion of whether it was safe or not. We're going to the Moon and the mission is wholly focussed on a can of tuna! Nothing speaks to the humanity of spaceflight so well!

SplendidCoffee012 karma

What is your favorite post Cold War space moment in history or one of them? Sorry if this is sloppily written, I had no clue you were doing an ama. Thanks for reading, unless you didn’t, which is fine too!

amyshirateitel35 karma

Favourite post Cold War space moment... So any space thing that happened post-1991-ish? Gonna say the Huygens probe landing on Titan! I love Titan, it's such a fascinating place that I would love to know more about. I love that we landed there, even though it didn't last long. I'm so on board with a dedicated Titan mission!

fghaas8 karma

Hi Amy! I love the book but I'm only halfway through so I can't ask an intelligent question about it yet, so instead I have a question for you that involves your favorite Apollo mission. I've asked this a few people before but never got an answer, so here goes:

Apollo 11's landing was a close call fuel-wise, with Bob Carlton in the MOCR becoming very concerned that they weren't going to make it. Carlton announced "low level", then made a 60-second and then a 30-second call, and just as he was getting ready to announce "15" they heard the "contact light!" call from Buzz.

During Apollo 12's descent there is also a "low level" call, and then a 60 and a 30-second call, yet Al Bean is always very calm and composed and assures Pete Conrad several times that they have "plenty of gas, babe."

So overall that landing seems about as close, as far as propellant quantity is concerned, as Eagle's, but nobody seems to be very concerned. Are you aware of a reason for the change in sentiment?

(I know about the low level call being unreliable because of propellant sloshing, which they fixed for 14. I think the MOCR didn't know about that issue at the time of 12, though.)

amyshirateitel22 karma

I think Apollo 12 generally gets less love because it was relatively uneventful compared to 11 and 13. It's like the overlooked middle child of the Apollo missions the average person remembers/knows about! The mission was drama-free (minus the lightning strike). In terms of response at the time, it's possible 11 showed that the call was a good thing to note but it wasn't scary down to the wire because 11 showed that you could still land well after that call!

trynadobetter7 karma

Where did you get that shirt? I love it. What's your fave monster/B horror movie?

amyshirateitel11 karma

This amazing designer I love and am in no way affiliated with so shoutout to Vixen by Micheline Pitt! She did a whole line of vintage monsters, all her own drawings, from unisex shirts to dresses and skirts and bowling shirts.

rdkilla6 karma

Can you do a Scott Manley voice?

amyshirateitel18 karma

Hullo! I'm not Scott Manleh!

mad_zamboni5 karma

I teach about the space race in elementary schools during the “Cold War” coverage in social studies class. This is usually to a bunch of 4th graders. I’ve leaned on the book “Apollo 8” by Jeffrey Kluger and your YouTube channel heavily for my topics. (Matter of fact I speak in two weeks and already have a student asking me about the “sandwich stuffed in a spaceman’s pocket” story I told last year.) So thank you!

But I do have a question. It would make life much easier if I had models or toys of the Saturn V, Command Module, and LEM. All I can seem to find are expensive desk display models or rocketry kits which will take me a week to assemble and be easily damaged.

Are there any models/toys you use when you speak? Any recommendations?

Thank you in advance.

amyshirateitel8 karma

Revell makes great kits, and I think they're pretty affordable on Amazon. I'd look around Amazon and see what you can find. There are a lot of space toys out there, but those Revell kits, if you're ok to build and paint them, are super fun and great quality for demonstrations!

zukoboss5 karma

Hi Amy! I remember you from ScienceOnline (I shot the livestream)!

Advancements in aviation and aerospace tech are obviously a huge inspiration to science fiction writers. Does this ever happen in reverse? E.g. has a science fiction writer ever directly inspired groundbreaking steps in spaceflight technology through their own ideas? I'm guessing yes, but would love to hear some examples!

amyshirateitel8 karma

Oh, ScienceOnline! That was such a great conference!

Science fiction has for sure inspired real science, but I just don't know enough about that overlap to cite examples. But I know scientists and engineers look at cool things in movies or TV shows and sort of reverse engineer how it could happen and then see if it could happen. Which is super cool!

lord_darth_Dan5 karma

Hello, Amy! You probably ae going to get that asked a lot, but still... Why, after all the achievements during the space race between USSR and USA, we stopped any development directed towards space exploration for decades?

Also, as a person who is somewhat close to space myself, what kind of future do you see for spaceflight? What will win, reusable rockets, cheap disposable rockets or less conventional methods of propulsion (Gauss cannon to the orbit?)?

amyshirateitel8 karma

I wouldn't say we've stopped developments in space at all! I think they're a lot less visible. When you have rockstar astronauts doing daring things like walking on the Moon, a fifth robotic mission to Mars pales in comparison for a lot of people. But NASA is making huge advances is robotic missions and technologies that will eventually support human missions, and private companies are taking their own incredible strides! A lot is happening, just with a little less fanfare than in the 60s.

lord_darth_Dan2 karma

I do agree that the recent advances, like robotic missions you mentioned, or other fairly impressive missions such as Juno, were quite something. But all of these are fairly recent, done in 2000s, what about before that?

Not to mention that, unlike the more darng mission of Juno, the Martian missions have been done and repeated for several times, definitely improving, but still not visibly pushing the horizons of possiblity.

I am however quite happy to note that not NASA alone is working on space exploration right now, and ESA as well s other national agencies do so as well.

What I'm really asking, is what was between? Has there been a periond between that time and 2000s, or is it just an illusion due to the changing nature of media and kept records?

amyshirateitel2 karma

I feel like the 90s-2000s were a little slow... and that might be because I wasn't working in the field yet (still in school) and wasn't following things super closely. There were some neat things happening. The ISS was being built, and we did the first Mars rover mission (shoutout Sojourner!) but it was definitely less exciting developments in the era compared with Apollo era.

NeedsToShutUp4 karma

Favorite project to never fly? I always liked the Shuttle-Z.

amyshirateitel11 karma

Definitely Dyna-Soar, the one-man shuttle we never had in the 1950s!

Scoundrelic4 karma

Hello,

What are your views on Operation Paperclip?

amyshirateitel8 karma

It was an interesting program that brought a lot of scientific minds into America while allowing for close surveillance since they were mostly former Nazis. There's a lot to say about it, but it was a really interesting moment in American history!

mape854 karma

Hi, Amy!

What happened to The Punk Rocker Moon Stomper Pawcast? It was a lot of fun.

amyshirateitel7 karma

My co-host and editor Jason got a new job and he just doesn't have time for a time-consuming side project! Makes me sad, too. When we hang out we reminisce about how fun that show was!

Chtorrr4 karma

What is the very best dessert?

amyshirateitel18 karma

Anything dark chocolate and flourless. Also butter tarts, a Canadian classic!

trackofalljades4 karma

Have you seen any episodes of the new speculative fiction series For All Mankind, and if so what did you think of it?

ladrm5 karma

For All Mankind

How is it possible I never heard about this series?! :-O Thanks for the tip!

amyshirateitel5 karma

It's on AppleTV+. I got a new phone so watched it with my free trial!

amyshirateitel5 karma

I watched the full first season, and it's not my favourite, but I also don't love science fiction or super speculative history of things I'm so close to. I thought there were a lot of fun paths the show took, and I really love the premise of the Soviets landing on the Moon first to kick off a bigger race, but at the end of the day I'm gonna stick to real history, but that's just me and my preference!

Shakethecryingaway3 karma

Do you believe in aliens?

amyshirateitel16 karma

Yes, but not that aliens are out there ready to enslave humanity or kill us. There's probably at the very least some simple organisms out there, even something single cell, minding its own business somewhere out there. We can't be the only life in the universe. Now whether we'll ever find it is a totally other question...

Ypocras3 karma

Hi Amy! I loved the story about your rogallo wing tattoo. Are there are other pieces of space hardware that you would consider for another tattoo?

amyshirateitel4 karma

So many! So really the question is how tattooed do I want to be! I'm drawn to linear Saturn V artwork for sure. If I was a backpiece person I could see the Apollo figure 8 schematic, but I'm not a backpiece person! There are some aviation-inspired things I'm looking at based on my new book, Fighting for Space, so if and when that happens it will also have a story attached!

ComfortableSun23 karma

What do you think of the conspiracy theorists who claim that the moon landings were a hoax?

amyshirateitel7 karma

Sigh. I feel like they're picking a weird fight for... unknown reasons? I'm genuinely confused about why people spend so much effort building their cases to prove it was fake when every claim is so easily refuted. I have a playlist of those videos on my channel and I just share that link when people start coming at me with their hox theories.

SensibleCreeper2 karma

[removed]

amyshirateitel3 karma

It definitely is.

tomaburque3 karma

Manned spaceflight, with the exception of Apollo, has never left low Earth orbit. Could not an argument be made that the enormous cost of the ISS would be much better spent on unmanned missions like Hubble, Mars Curiosity, Rosetta, New Horizons and so on?

amyshirateitel8 karma

Yes and no -- I think it depends who you ask. There's an argument to be made that seeing a human in space makes it appealing and interesting for the taxpayers who are footing the bill, so without humans, it's hard to fund. There's also an argument that human spaceflight is a holdover of the Apollo era, that because we started in space with such a focus on human missions we can't not have it -- it's part of the legacy of the Apollo era that has a lot of bad holdovers.

I would love to see a larger focus on unmanned missions. I've been writing for years that Apollo's legacy is flawed and doing us more harm than good -- we should keep the inspiration but drop the model. We don't have Cold War funding, we don't have an adversary, and we don't have the drama of first steps in space. If we aren't going to seriously look at a long-term human program, we should be learning more about the solar system so we know where to go when we can get humans out there.

Albert_VDS3 karma

Which rocket is, in your opinion, the best?

amyshirateitel8 karma

Saturn V forever! It's just so gorgeous and launched missions to the Moon... it's a beautiful machine!

ZekeJR2 karma

What is your favorite astronaut book/astronaut biography and why?

amyshirateitel3 karma

I'm partial to Pete Conrad's Rocketman (written by his second wife Nancy) because I just love Pete Conrad! But really it's hard to pick. They all have unique stories and are just so fun!

ThatDinoR3X2 karma

When did you want to become a Spaceflight Historian? What age?

amyshirateitel3 karma

It was never something I set out to do. I always loved spaceflight history and history and kind of fell into it as a profession. I never really knew where it was going until I got here, and I still don't know what's next!

nu246012 karma

Sure sure, fighting for space is great and all, but what say you to fighting IN space? Do you think you could caterwaul Buzz Aldrin in his prime?

amyshirateitel5 karma

Take away gravity and it's a new fight. Prime Buzz is bigger and strong, sure, but I'm smaller and could probably whip around for the surprise attack. Or, more likely, it'd be an awkward trying to reach out and push against non-existent walls... so a lot of awkward flailing and flapping.

bobthepomato2 karma

Have you ever felt the urges to create your own telescopes like Arthur C Clark? Also I have a cool copy of the flight/operations manual for a Gemini space capsule. I’m trying to think of non lame questions but dam I feel on the spot!

amyshirateitel3 karma

Ha! Solid non-lame question! I haven't. I live in a city and always have, so as much as I love a good clear sky I've never done any astronomy myself. I love looking at planets through telescopes but don't know that I'd have the patience to set it up myself, let alone actually build one!

recockulous2 karma

Hi Amy -

Did you listen to the Washington Post podcast series “Moonrise” about the history of the moon landings? Do you think their retelling of the story - especially President Johnson’s role - is accurate?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/podcasts/moonrise-the-origins-of-apollo-11-mission/

amyshirateitel4 karma

I'll be honest and say I haven't listened to it, but thanks for the link and I'll check it out!

(And having just said I haven't listened to it, I will say LBJ played a bigger role than he's usually given, so it's likely right to bring him to the fore a bit.)

mks1132 karma

Hi Amy, love your content! I didn't realize until now that you went to King's, where my daughter graduated.

Keep up your great attitude. I've been a long-time advocate for women in STEM but I know parts of it can be a challenge -- I'm a male engineer and have an awesome female supervisor. I don't see women in engineering to be a huge challenge, but I gather women in the trades have to deal with an enormous amount of sexism. It hurts me to hear "to fit in, I had to become 'one of they guys'".

What do you think is required for women to become more accepted in Tech fields?

amyshirateitel9 karma

Oh nice! I'm going to speak at King's next week and I'm so excited to go back for a visit!

As for women being more accepted into tech fields... That's a big one. Personally, I feel like it'll be a long-term shift. I personally want to see less promoting women to say "look, we promote women!" and instead focus on an individual's merit and achievement when those people happen to be women. And I think the next generation needs to see what women in positions of authority doesn't happen among women, it happens among humans, and we're all humans, therefore we all have the potential to be awesome regardless of what we look like! I think it's definitely getting better, but there's still an old guard of sorts in a lot of tech fields that put up barriers. Even something as small as not wanting to read a technical paper written by a female name is part of the problem. There's no quick fix... and I clearly have a lot of thoughts about it!

NeedsToShutUp2 karma

What do you think of the Phantom Cosmonauts?

(Also I would have gone with Alan Bean for a kitten, as they got jelly bean toes).

amyshirateitel5 karma

I love the story of the phantom cosmonauts! All those close to reality but not real stories are so much fun.

And when I adopted Pete, he had two unclaimed brothers, and I really wanted to take them all and name them Pete, Dick and Al and build them a little Moon set to play on. Alas, I couldn't take three kittens at the time, so Pete's on a solo mission!

TomasNavarro2 karma

Hi Amy, what sort of sandwiches do you like?

amyshirateitel7 karma

Anything loaded with veggies. Like put a salad between bread, wich cheese, and I'm super happy.

ballthyrm2 karma

What do you think separate the NASA of the Apollo program and the NASA of the Artemis program ?

amyshirateitel3 karma

The biggest difference is probably the rationale, which will have a big impact on Artemis' development and schedule. Apollo was a national need to best an adversary. Artemis is exploration without the reason to go fast. We've already seen program changes and delays, and without a need to keep on schedule we could see more.

ZekeJR2 karma

In Philip K. Dick's novel "The Man in the High Castle", Nazi Germany (which in this alternate history has won World War II) is depicted as having an enthusiastic space program, complete with crewed missions to different planets, as well as using rockets for city-to-city travel here on Earth. Was there ever any evidence in the real world that Germany intended to turn rocket development toward peaceful purposes, or was it just another weapon?

amyshirateitel5 karma

There was some -- I get into a little bit of it in my first book, Breaking the Chains of Gravity: http://bit.ly/astbtcog

In short, there were some plans, albeit preliminary and unexplored, to use the booster to launch rocket planes to cover large distances in a short time. This is basically the boost-glide concept that was also militarized (the skip-glide or boost-glide vehicle) sometimes called the antipodal bomber. Replace the bombs with people and it's great for human transport! But yeah, in the war it was definitely researched for a weapon first and foremost!

EmotionalField4 karma

Hi. You just mentioned The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

I've found an audiobook of that novel on YouTube. You can listen to it here:

YouTube | The Man In The High Castle - Philip K Dick [Audiobook]

I'm a bot that searches YouTube for science fiction and fantasy audiobooks.

amyshirateitel3 karma

Thanks, bot!

NightKniqht2 karma

What's the biggest argument against moon landing conspiracies that you could argue?

amyshirateitel6 karma

Why would they fake going to the Moon nine times!?

lukepatrick2 karma

If you had Musk/Bezos levels of funding, what kind of rocket/space company would you want to build?

amyshirateitel7 karma

I would want to lay the foundations for a real, long-term human program. A space station that can launch deep space missions, and a Moon base for refuelling. Something that would give us a real foothold in space that could grow as we go further.

murph9142 karma

What do you think of the flood of the Canadian celebrities that drop their accent and adopt an American / Californian one?

amyshirateitel4 karma

I think ti's probably from immersion in another accent, the way an American might pick up some Australianisms living out there for a decade or more.

AdamInChainz1 karma

What are you most excited to see in the space programs (US or otherwise) in the next 15 years?

amyshirateitel3 karma

I want to see robotic missions to Venus and Titan. And Neptune! I know there are proposals floating around and those are the ones I'm super keen to see fly.

frid1 karma

Favorite donair joint?

amyshirateitel2 karma

I don't eat meat so never had a favourite donair joint. Also never liked donair sauce because why is it so sweet! Who puts that on pizza!?

I'll et poutine any day though!

coffeeismyvodka1 karma

What's your take on Sci-Fi or space related series or movies? Are they any accurate or could the movie industry do better?

What was your opinion on The Orville, if you have watched the series? TQ. ☺️

amyshirateitel2 karma

Haven't seen The Orville... For the most part there are always things wrong with sci fi that take me out of the story, like people walking when there shouldn't be gravity, and falling from orbit. But that's what makes sci fi exciting! Hollywood can definitely do it right, though. Apollo 13 is the perfect example of drama without losing the reality of spaceflight.

DasGanon1 karma

Hi Amy!

You mentioned on your youtube channel that you were moving into more 20th century history rather than explicitly just space history, so I imagine you have an opinion on this:

What's your favorite 20th century car and why?

amyshirateitel2 karma

Ooh, good one. I have to admit I'm not a great car person, I just know that I love the mid-60s classic lines. It's more aesthetic for me, but I will say I'm curious to read more about the history of cars to understand how this seems to be one of the few technologies that gives way to style demands.

SuspiciousCustomer51 karma

Hello Amy! I was pretty excited to see this because as a fellow space nerd, I’ve been watching your content for years! In one of your videos you went over why you find the Apollo era of space flight more interesting than what we see today. If we were to return to the moon, or go to mars, do you think you’d become more interested in current space flight due to their being new problems to solve? If we did return to the moon, what would you like to see the program accomplish?

amyshirateitel2 karma

For sure! For me, a lot of what I love about big programs is the problem solving, and getting to Mars would see a lot of cool innovation! What Apollo will always have for me, though is it's complete and records are available to see how the story ends. I like having something complete to dig into!

The_changlorious_81 karma

If you come back to Halifax for a visit, could I take you out to dinner?

amyshirateitel3 karma

I am taken. I am also going to be in Halifax next week giving a talk at King's College Friday evening at 7! I'll be posting information on Twitter so that's the best place to look.

Cartman19721 karma

Hello Amy,

if mankind would make contact with alien lifeforms, what do you think how they would be? Like in Close Encounters / Arrival or more like a mysterious entity in Contact / 2001?

amyshirateitel4 karma

So the only movie on that list I've seen in 2001, so answering a little blind here. I suspect if we do her a signal it'll be a signal that astronomers will spend a while studying to confirm is actually alien, and then we'll figure out what it is... in short it'll be a slow burn figuring out what it is let alone what to do next!

mad_zamboni1 karma

Do you believe there is another space race developing now? Between private sector (SpaceX and Blue Origin) or the US (SpaceX)/Russia/China?

Is a space race a good thing because it pushes development and brings focus or a bad thing because it becomes a US vs Them mentality?

amyshirateitel4 karma

I don't think there's another similar space race happening, largely because the private companies are working with the government ones, and America doesn't want to race. It did the Moon 50 years ago and no one can take that away from it.

"Races" like that are great for spurring on innovation, but you're right -- the us versus them mentality isn't great for anyone. Space for all humans!

ZechQuinLuck1231 karma

Do you think Elon Musk's Mars Colonization plan is feasible?

amyshirateitel2 karma

I don't know many specifics about his plan, but I don't think any Mars colonization plans are feasible at the moment.

lynxkcg1 karma

Are there any topics you've stumbled across in your research that you feel people don't know enough about? Or maybe just exciting or weird stuff?

I can only imagine what you can find when you're out in the weeds of researching for a book. Really excited to sit down with your book that got delivered the other day!

amyshirateitel2 karma

Yay! So glad the book got to you and I hope you enjoy it!

I'm always finding weird little tidbits that I want to explore, and there were a lot with this book. Even if it's just a facet of a program or overlap with something else. I tried keeping a spreadsheet of topics but instead, I just have post-its all over my desk with ideas for content!

Shahar6031 karma

Which space toys/models have you taken with you in your latest trip? Do you have a favourite model?

Also is there a topic that you really wished you could make a video or write a post about but you just couldn't because there wasn't available data/you didn't understand it?

amyshirateitel3 karma

I have a mini astronaut Barbie who's coming around with me right now! She's on-brand with the new book!

IvanTheRational1 karma

Which astronaut do you admire the most? Who would you be most proud to have impressed/influenced with your work?

amyshirateitel5 karma

I'm (potentially unsurprisingly) partial to the Apollo era guys just because they were my inspiration growing up. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Dave Scott was consulting on a show I was interviewed for, and among the resources he sent over as best articles for background was one of mine! I don't recall the topic, but I was super excited about that!

thememorableusername1 karma

What's your favorite gross space fact?

amyshirateitel4 karma

The method of pooping on Apollo. The bag with the sticky end and the little finger slot? Sounds terrible!

suaveitguy1 karma

Did you see Apollo 11 on IMAX? Were you as moved as I was? (I was very moved.)

amyshirateitel2 karma

YES! Oh my god I loved it. I was amazed at how good the footage looked on a huge screen and how much footage there was I'd never seen, and the audio sync! Oh, it was so good and I was so happy to find it in IMAX! I've read the mission transcript and I was still tense, that's how well done I felt it was!

KingPistachio1 karma

what do you think of space force and its logo?

amyshirateitel5 karma

I personally don't think Space Force is a thing we need. At all. I could go on about this a lot, but instead I'm going to toss out this link to my old op-ed (slash rant) video about it. In short, there are policies against the militarization of space, and while the Air Force does have some space activities, as do other military branches, I don't think this is something we need or a realm we should start treating like a military theatre. And the logo? Meh! Here's the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eynb9yOW9ME

BEANandCHEE1 karma

What do you think about Killer Klowns From Outer Space?

amyshirateitel2 karma

I don't know what that is off the top of my head!

erebus1 karma

Where do you think the future of spaceflight is headed? Public vs private, NASA vs China, reusable launch vehicles, manned vs unmanned exploration, LEO vs longer distance, etc.

amyshirateitel2 karma

I think it'll be some kind of private/public coordination likely with some international partners. Space is hard and expensive. Pooling resources will help everyone, and the whole point of space is expanding human horizons, and we're all humans!

rhoeteppin1 karma

Do you believe a permanent or temporary habitation on Mars is within humanity’s reach within the decade? And will we even reach the logistical capability to even be able to attempt a manned martian landing by 2030?

amyshirateitel3 karma

Not within the decade, and I'd be surprised if we get humans on Mars by the end of the decade. There are huge technical challenges getting off the ground, keeping humans safe on the transit, landing... there's a huge amount of research and development that needs to happen before we can see that mission.

justz00t1 karma

What do you think about those videos that the Navy released of so called UAP/UFO?

amyshirateitel2 karma

I haven't looked into them enough to really say, but definitely interesting!

tjo851 karma

Hi Amy! Huge fan. I thought I knew it all about Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, but then I found your channel and learn something new all the time. I love it!

You've said a bit in the past, but care to share more thoughts on how we perhaps over romanticize the days of Apollo? Does it still stand out as a huge achievement to you or do you think it's overshadowing other scientific progress/discoveries?

amyshirateitel4 karma

I think Apollo is deservedly celebrated as a massive achievement. I mean, they went to the MOON! That's wild. The problem that I see is we keep looking at that as the benchmark of success. We're almost conditioned to think that something as big as a man on the Moon is the only thing worth doing in space, so everything feels flat in comparison. In reality, the robotic missions we're seeing now are just as amazing, we just don't see a human on board so can't feel the same connection. So in that sense yes, I think you could say it's overshadowing other post-Apollo achievements.

curiouslyStupid1 karma

I've been a subscriber to your YouTube channel for a while and I love your content :) Are there any documentaries you can reccomend to a space-technology nerd?

amyshirateitel5 karma

Apollo 11 if you haven't seen it is amazing, the one that's all archived footage. From the Earth to the Moon isn't a documentary, but it's brilliant. Moon Machines (I think?) is an excellent doc about the lunar module. Those are the ones off the top of my head!

oliness1 karma

Do you think a return to the moon is likely this decade? There seems to be more hype about it but it's hard to know if it's just hype.

amyshirateitel2 karma

I think every President wants to have their "Kennedy Moment" -- their grand proclamation that becomes their legacy. But the reality is funding and need isn't there right now. Back to the Moon in this decade? Maybe. I mean we have almost a full decade to go before 2030 so good odds! It could be that SpaceX does it first, or maybe NASA will get the funding and support for a step-by-step exploration program that starts with the Moon... so I don't know! There are a lot of elements at play here!