How's it going in space? Awesome, just like every day, said NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, speaking live from the International Space Station — redefining the meaning of long-distance conversation.
Fischer joined the first live taping of NASA's "Houston, We Have a Podcast" on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 10). The spaceman spoke with two hosts, Gary Jordan and Dan Huot, and answered questions from the people who tuned in to the Facebook Live event, such as, "Do you get insomnia in space?"
The session appeared to be a natural extension for Fischer, who has a strong following on Twitter, at 88,000 followers. A reason he is such a favorite for so many is his unabashed way of expressing the wonders he sees aboard the ISS. Fischer was formerly an Air Force test pilot, and he said he was "lucky" to be selected from out among such a talented applicant pool to launch to the space station in April 2017 as a flight engineer for Expedition 51. This is Fischer's first trip to space. [Southern Lights Dazzle in Spectacular Time-Lapse Video from Space (Video)]
Although Fischer is living the astronaut experience for the first time, he is not shy about using funny phrases like "boats of yum" for floating space station meals, or "biggest slice of awesome pie I've ever seen" to describe the landmark 200th space station spacewalk that he had the honor of performing.
During the show, it seemed the hosts of the podcast were just as enthusiastic as the astronaut, and got quite animated about their chance to speak to a space station resident.
"Wrap your mind around it — we are talking to somebody in space," NASA spokesperson Dan Huot said during the program's introduction. Two weeks ago, Huot witnessed a colleague in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, get a phone call from the space station, and shared during the live session that it is "so incredible [that] we live in this time."
Jordan's first question to Fischer was, "How's today in space?" and the astronaut, brimming with energy, replied, "It's awesome! Like it is every day!" After every question, Fischer floated into different positions, perhaps showing off his new mastery of moving in microgravity. He did add, "Don't ask Peggy [Whitson] how many things I've knocked over."
Fischer also revealed that in order to adjust to his new home in the best way, he studies which mannerisms the space crew have adopted, asking himself questions like, "How is Peggy cutting her food packet?"
Viewers also learned some less humorous, more personal details about Fischer. He said he's excited about the cancer-combating research the space crew is conducting because his own daughter battled the disease. The newbie astronaut also likes sleeping in microgravity ("like sleeping in an air bed") because on Earth he suffered from back pain as a result of his previous work as an Air Force pilot.
Previous episodes of "Houston, We Have a Podcast" are available on the NASA website.
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Doris is a science journalist and Space.com contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a Space.com editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.