#AskLuca: Details from the ISS

This week we learn a great variety of information from Astronaut Luca Parmitano! From Luca’s training plans when he gets back to Earth to the smell of space, Luca shares some fun details that help us see inside the incredible experience aboard the ISS!

Join the #AskLuca Experience!

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

Question OneQuestion 1: Scuba Diving

 -asked by Kelly, @KellyGraveson

Question: One of the students from your first downlink wants to know if you’ll still be scuba diving when you return to Earth, given the fact that water posed a problem in space.

Luca’s Answer: Of course I will still scuba dive: the thought never occurred to me to stop – I have had unexpected events through all my career as a pilot, and that never stopped me from flying!

Question 2: HAM OperatorsQuestion Two

 -asked by Armi, @sp3qfe

Question: Hi Luca, are you going to random talk by voice with the HAM operators from Europe? It would be great to make radio contact with you. If yes, when?

Luca’s Answer: Although I would love to use the Ham radio more often, it’s really hard to schedule a specific time. Not only I would have to know that I’ll be flying over Europe, I’d also have to be free: during the day, it doesn’t happen very often.

Question ThreeQuestion 3: Photos from the ISS

 -asked by Bill, @w0sun

Question: Could you take a picture of you and the Ham Radio Station that is being used aboard ISS?

Luca’s Answer: Sure! I already did, I just haven’t posted it yet.

Question 4: Air Resistance

Question Four -asked by Jon & Annabel, @B3ko

Question: On earth dropping a feather and a hammer is affected by air resistance. On the moon it is not and they fall with the same motion. So, what happens if you throw a hammer and a feather on the ISS? With no gravity does the artificial atmosphere still create air resistance causing the feather to wave? Can you video this?

Luca’s Answer: The feather would be “captured” by the constant, artificial airflow (just like wind on Earth). The Hammer, because of its mass, would be much less affected by it (just like on Earth!): so the former would float away, the latter would just… float. I don’t have a feather to make a video of it, but I’ll see if I can come up with something.

Questions Five and SixQuestion 5: The Smell of Space

 -asked by Pete, @Printerpete

Question: Can you smell space? If do, what does it smell like?

Luca’s Answer: My understanding of smell is that is caused by very, very small particles. So “space” outside the Station wouldn’t have a smell.

Question 6: The Smell of the ISS

 -asked by Adrian, @edgarbug

Question: Does the ISS have a particular smell?  I am guessing no smell or slightly anti- septic.

Luca’s Answer: The ISS itself doesn’t have a specific smell, because the air is constantly moved and filtered. It may have had some when I first got here, but my nose must have been saturated almost immediately because if there was one I can’t recall it.

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