Wildlife & Wild Places

Hangout With an Astronaut: Ask Your Questions

Photo courtesy of NASA

Since the year of mankind’s inaugural trip to space in 1961, 341 people have crossed the celestial borders of outer space. These new-age navigators represent the pinnacle of human achievement. What is it about their daring voyages that elicit wonderment in those watching from Earth? Becoming an astronaut is a difficult, but not impossible dream. Join us for our next Google+ Hangout to discover one astronaut’s path to becoming a crew member on the International Space Station.

Astronaut Piers Sellers has participated in not one, but three missions to the International Space Station (ISS), his most recent flight in 2010. He has performed multiple space walks and eaten plenty of astronaut food. With over a month’s worth of room and board on the ISS, Piers knows better than most what it’s like to live in space.

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Piers smiles from inside his snug space suit. Photo courtesy of NASA.

We’re also joined by space architect, Constance Adams and planetary geologist Bethany Ehlmann — two women working to make space more habitable for humans. Bethany is part of the famed Mars Rover Curiosity team based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). As a geologist, she’s analyzing the surface of Mars for evidence of water and environments suitable for life. Constance also hails from NASA and specializes in designing complex expandable living areas for the International Space Station and for the surface of Mars. When humans get to the red planet, it’ll be thanks in part to work these two National Geographic Explorers have done.

Want to ask Piers what it was like to live in zero-gravity? Or ask Constance how small a box she could fit a room into? Or ask Bethany for the latest news form Mars ? Tune into our next Hangout March 20th at  2:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. UTC).

How to Participate in the Hangout

You can be a part of our next Google+ Hangout. Send in your questions for these National Geographic Explorers and guests and they may be asked on air. Submit your questions by…

  • Uploading a video question to YouTube with hashtag #LetsExplore
  • Posting a question on Google+ or Twitter with hashtag #LetsExplore or
  • Commenting directly on this blog post

Follow National Geographic on Google+ or return to this blog post to watch the Google+ Hangout Thursday, March 20th at  2:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. UTC) to ask your burning questions and hear them answered by our explorers live!

Other Hangouts From National Geographic:

Hangout With the Adventurers of the Year
Hangout With Buzz Aldrin and Conrad Anker
Hangout With Explorers on All Seven Continents

  • Conner B.

    If you went far enough, could you see an ocean of infinite universes?

  • Conner B.

    If you went far enough, could you see an ocean of infinite universes?

  • Conner B.

    If you went or even looked far enough, could you see infinite universes?

  • Conner B.

    If you went or even looked far enough, could you see infinite universes?

  • Debbie D

    Show us our star family! We know there are several extraterrestrials waiting to enter our universe not to mention the millions/billions already here. Disclosure is here whether some want it or not! Earthlings already know they are here and are waiting for this moment … bring it on! What are you waiting for? It only takes one oops moment to spread like wild fire then the Cabal is history! Man up guys!!

  • Debbie D

    Show us our star family! We know there are several extraterrestrials waiting to enter our universe not to mention the millions/billions already here. Disclosure is here whether some want it or not! Earthlings already know they are here and are waiting for this moment … bring it on! What are you waiting for? It only takes one oops moment to spread like wild fire then the Cabal is history! Man up guys!!

  • William Peek

    I have heard that if astronauts spend a certain amount of time in space in a non-gravity environment, that they cannot return to earth as gravity would prevent them from even being able to breath, stand, walk and that their body would not be able to function properly to allow them to remain in a gravity environment such as earth. Is this true?

  • William Peek

    I have heard that if astronauts spend a certain amount of time in space in a non-gravity environment, that they cannot return to earth as gravity would prevent them from even being able to breath, stand, walk and that their body would not be able to function properly to allow them to remain in a gravity environment such as earth. Is this true?

  • Brad Calder

    How soon before the asteroid?

  • Brad Calder

    How soon before the asteroid?

  • Solomon A.

    What happens when you shave/cut your hair?

  • Solomon A.

    What happens when you shave/cut your hair?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Can you see flying airplanes????

  • Mike Gauthier

    Can you see flying airplanes????

  • Solomon A.

    What happens when you cut your hair/shave? Does your hair float into the air?

  • Daniel Mathis

    Whats the next step after Space Station?

  • mark hadley

    would love to see ham radio equipment on space station. from kl7hd

  • mark hadley

    would love to see ham radio equipment on space station. from kl7hd

  • Cj

    When you grow taller in space, do you feel yourself stretching out?

  • Cj

    When you grow taller in space, do you feel yourself stretching out?

  • Mike Gauthier

    What is the most dangerous food to eat in space ?

  • Mike Gauthier

    What is the most dangerous food to eat in space ?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Did any astronaut or cosmonaute ever did a mariage proposal in Space ?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Did any astronaut or cosmonaute ever did a mariage proposal in Space ?

  • Caleb Hathaway

    What happens if you had to have an emergency surgery like a burst appendix? Could it be fixed up there or would you have to come home? Would you be able to stay in space after the surgery? Im curious because i had my appendix burst and had to be in the hospital 2 months.

  • Caleb Hathaway

    What happens if you had to have an emergency surgery like a burst appendix? Could it be fixed up there or would you have to come home? Would you be able to stay in space after the surgery? Im curious because i had my appendix burst and had to be in the hospital 2 months.

  • Jurcau Daniel

    how kant a med to become an astronaut?

  • Jurcau Daniel

    how kant a med to become an astronaut?

  • Jamie

    How does you use the space pods?

  • Jamie

    How does you use the space pods?

  • Rick B.

    1. How much of your day is scheduled for your work duties and how many hours are you allowed to relax every day?
    2. How much time is spent training here on earth in simulators to familiarize you with the ISS when you arrive there?
    3. Do you play board or card games, if so how do you anchor playing pieces and playing cards?

  • Rick B.

    1. How much of your day is scheduled for your work duties and how many hours are you allowed to relax every day?
    2. How much time is spent training here on earth in simulators to familiarize you with the ISS when you arrive there?
    3. Do you play board or card games, if so how do you anchor playing pieces and playing cards?

  • Jamie

    Can you watch tv in space?

  • Jamie

    Can you watch tv in space?

  • Rick B.

    Is there a schedule or plan to expand the ISS to accommodate more occupants?

  • Rick B.

    Is there a schedule or plan to expand the ISS to accommodate more occupants?

  • Felicia

    Hello!

    Congratulations on growing vegetables in space! As we have learned earlier in the show, water is a tremendously valuable resource. Do you think we will see the growing application ISS uses in advancing agriculture and lifting up humanity in places where water and food are scarce?
    Also, space gardening must be an amazing reminder of home!
    #HelloFromEarth #livefromspace

  • Felicia

    Hello!

    Congratulations on growing vegetables in space! As we have learned earlier in the show, water is a tremendously valuable resource. Do you think we will see the growing application ISS uses in advancing agriculture and lifting up humanity in places where water and food are scarce?
    Also, space gardening must be an amazing reminder of home!
    #HelloFromEarth #livefromspace

  • Chris Stieglitz

    I’d love to venture out into space one day. How is it that your body is able to maintain food you eat in space, and does it digest properly as if you were on Earth?

  • Chris Stieglitz

    I’d love to venture out into space one day. How is it that your body is able to maintain food you eat in space, and does it digest properly as if you were on Earth?

  • Mike Gauthier

    If you are going for the second Time in Space what will you NOT Forget to bring the second Time around?

  • Mike Gauthier

    If you are going for the second Time in Space what will you NOT Forget to bring the second Time around?

  • Jurcau Daniel

    Hi I’m Daniel from Romania and I want to ask how can one become an astronaut?

  • Jurcau Daniel

    Hi I’m Daniel from Romania and I want to ask how can one become an astronaut?

  • emil

    when you come back to earth do you feel heavy from the gravity ..? does objects feel like having more weight?

  • emil

    when you come back to earth do you feel heavy from the gravity ..? does objects feel like having more weight?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Can all astronaut do an outside walk?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Can all astronaut do an outside walk?

  • Bob Schuster

    Do you ever see any UFOs?

  • Bob Schuster

    Do you ever see any UFOs?

  • Allen Jacot

    Do you ever get motion sick whenever you flip around in space?

  • Allen Jacot

    Do you ever get motion sick whenever you flip around in space?

  • Michael

    How does living in space for any period effect your body’s metabolism?

  • Michael

    How does living in space for any period effect your body’s metabolism?

  • Mike Gauthier

    What is the greatest new research application completed and in use on earth ?

  • Mike Gauthier

    What is the greatest new research application completed and in use on earth ?

  • Aaron

    Which generates more anxiety; blastoff to space or the return to Earth?

  • Aaron

    Which generates more anxiety; blastoff to space or the return to Earth?

  • Karina Kato

    Hello, guys, thank you for that. I am watching you from Brazil.
    I would like to know which is the sound do you hear in the ISS?And, please, show us Brazil and South America from the space!
    Congratulations.

  • Karina Kato

    Hello, guys, thank you for that. I am watching you from Brazil.
    I would like to know which is the sound do you hear in the ISS?And, please, show us Brazil and South America from the space!
    Congratulations.

  • Mike Gauthier

    Have any of you saw something that can be identified as an UFO ?

  • Mike Gauthier

    Have any of you saw something that can be identified as an UFO ?

  • Cheryl F

    What would it be like for someone who is afraid of hights , to be in space?

  • Cheryl F

    What would it be like for someone who is afraid of hights , to be in space?

  • Abhishek C

    Do you get to check out the different stuffs other than Earth , like grabbing a telescope and searching for those awesome Nebulae or a certain star and stuffs likes that?

  • Abhishek C

    Do you get to check out the different stuffs other than Earth , like grabbing a telescope and searching for those awesome Nebulae or a certain star and stuffs likes that?

  • Allen Jacot

    Do you ever get homesick when your in space for months?

  • Allen Jacot

    Do you ever get homesick when your in space for months?

  • eig2m

    Has there been any sex between astronauts while in the space station?

  • eig2m

    Has there been any sex between astronauts while in the space station?

  • Oriana Acevedo

    Hello dears astronauts, I would like how many plants have been there. Thanks 🙂

  • Oriana Acevedo

    Hello dears astronauts, I would like how many plants have been there. Thanks 🙂

  • Allen Jacot

    When do you think average people will be able to go to space.

  • Allen Jacot

    When do you think average people will be able to go to space.

  • Martin H

    Hello,
    When I look up on a clear night to the stars, I have an overwhelming feeling of how small I am in comparison to how big the universe is, but most of the time in my day to day life. I hardly ever think about how big the universe is compared to me..
    So, my first question is…
    What is your feeling about the size of the universe when you are in space? When your return to earth does your view on life on our planet change from what it was before you were in space?

    My last question for you is …
    What is the first thing you crave, miss or wish you had with you when you are on a mission in space (besides family)?

    Thank you for your time and all of the work that you do. God Speed.

    ~Martin H.

  • Martin H

    Hello,
    When I look up on a clear night to the stars, I have an overwhelming feeling of how small I am in comparison to how big the universe is, but most of the time in my day to day life. I hardly ever think about how big the universe is compared to me..
    So, my first question is…
    What is your feeling about the size of the universe when you are in space? When your return to earth does your view on life on our planet change from what it was before you were in space?

    My last question for you is …
    What is the first thing you crave, miss or wish you had with you when you are on a mission in space (besides family)?

    Thank you for your time and all of the work that you do. God Speed.

    ~Martin H.

  • Chai Aysola

    Hello ISS crew, well wishes to you.
    perhaps you could fly a paper airplane in your station ?

    Can you imagine applications of a 3D printer being useful on the ISS ?

  • Chai Aysola

    Hello ISS crew, well wishes to you.
    perhaps you could fly a paper airplane in your station ?

    Can you imagine applications of a 3D printer being useful on the ISS ?

  • Eunice

    What do the north and south poles look like? Have you discovered new geographic marvels?

  • Eunice

    What do the north and south poles look like? Have you discovered new geographic marvels?

  • surya .R

    this might not be a question but i’ll say it anyway 😀
    i wanted to be an astronaut but i guess i’m not tall enough 🙁

  • surya .R

    this might not be a question but i’ll say it anyway 😀
    i wanted to be an astronaut but i guess i’m not tall enough 🙁

  • Shirley Sullivan

    I am an old lady now, and it is amazing what has occurred in my lifetime. I have to admire you gentlemen for embarking on such a marvelous adventure. I can only remember being afraid to leave my home town of 500 population, and here you guys are completely out of this world. I do have a question as I continue to watch you trek – and have noticed that there is a specific area of what I think is three orbits around. Is there any reason for choosing this location to continue around the earth. Can you orbit in any other direction except the center of the earth? Have a wonderful day, and God Bless you marvelous creatures.

  • Shirley Sullivan

    I am an old lady now, and it is amazing what has occurred in my lifetime. I have to admire you gentlemen for embarking on such a marvelous adventure. I can only remember being afraid to leave my home town of 500 population, and here you guys are completely out of this world. I do have a question as I continue to watch you trek – and have noticed that there is a specific area of what I think is three orbits around. Is there any reason for choosing this location to continue around the earth. Can you orbit in any other direction except the center of the earth? Have a wonderful day, and God Bless you marvelous creatures.

  • Rishika Agarwal

    What all degrees do i need to become an astronaut?
    And how does rain appear from space?

  • Rishika Agarwal

    What all degrees do i need to become an astronaut?
    And how does rain appear from space?

  • Danish

    Hi
    I have one question to astronaut !!!
    The mechanical watch or clock work in space station??

  • Danish

    Hi
    I have one question to astronaut !!!
    The mechanical watch or clock work in space station??

  • Prajwal Gyawali

    Hey , How do you feel when there is less gravity , please explain ….I am Prajwal from Nepal and say my name in TV

  • Prajwal Gyawali

    Hey , How do you feel when there is less gravity , please explain ….I am Prajwal from Nepal and say my name in TV

  • Irene Hasenack

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the show Mar. 14. I have been watching you go by overhead for over a year whenever I get an email alert. Thanks for sharing your experiences and the awesome pictures, and the work you are doing.

  • Irene Hasenack

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the show Mar. 14. I have been watching you go by overhead for over a year whenever I get an email alert. Thanks for sharing your experiences and the awesome pictures, and the work you are doing.

  • Stien Van Herreweghe

    Is it difficult to sleep , when you are floating around ,and can you see Belgium from so far away?

  • Stien Van Herreweghe

    Is it difficult to sleep , when you are floating around ,and can you see Belgium from so far away?

  • Stien

    Can you grow fruit and vegetables on the space station?

  • Stien

    Can you grow fruit and vegetables on the space station?

  • Alfredo Riveroll

    It s great to know that your work will serve in the near future the travel to other planets… great to hear you from 250 miles in space…. Regards from Mexico and my thanks for you and your valuable contributions.

  • Alfredo Riveroll

    It s great to know that your work will serve in the near future the travel to other planets… great to hear you from 250 miles in space…. Regards from Mexico and my thanks for you and your valuable contributions.

  • Ted Erne

    I’ve always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I let my astigmatism and nearsightedness stop me from pursuing that dream. Perhaps, I gave up too soon. Thanks for living the dream for me. My question is I know you look down on earth a lot from space, but do you ever look out at the stars, planets, nebulas, galaxies, or other celestial objects from your perspective? What’s that like?

  • Ted Erne

    I’ve always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I let my astigmatism and nearsightedness stop me from pursuing that dream. Perhaps, I gave up too soon. Thanks for living the dream for me. My question is I know you look down on earth a lot from space, but do you ever look out at the stars, planets, nebulas, galaxies, or other celestial objects from your perspective? What’s that like?

  • mphonyane

    How does Lesotho look from space

  • mphonyane

    How does Lesotho look from space

  • Mark

    Now that’s a great Selfie! 🙂

  • Mark

    Now that’s a great Selfie! 🙂

  • razvan

    how is the silence? describe the silence you felt there 🙂

  • razvan

    how is the silence? describe the silence you felt there 🙂

  • Jose Martinez

    To seen the movie Gravity?
    Is it approaching reality?. Thansk.

  • Jose Martinez

    To seen the movie Gravity?
    Is it approaching reality?. Thansk.

  • arun

    hiiiiiii….. I am arun frm india my qtion is plz see the earth and star- moon pic and most see space area plz see my name and adress on me and world best tv channel plzzzzz……….

  • arun

    hiiiiiii….. I am arun frm india my qtion is plz see the earth and star- moon pic and most see space area plz see my name and adress on me and world best tv channel plzzzzz……….

  • John Maye

    Hi Piers.
    I would love to know if you have performed an experiment in the Space Station on any of the mission’s that you have taken part in,that has amazed you and if so what was it.
    Regards and good luck.

  • satish

    Is life really possible out there? Is there any chance of aliens co-existing with us?

  • satish

    Is life really possible out there? Is there any chance of aliens co-existing with us?

  • David S.

    Can a ordinary guy like me became an astronaut? Im 19 years old.

  • David S.

    Can a ordinary guy like me became an astronaut? Im 19 years old.

  • Sathish

    Do you have dreams while sleeping in ISS? If yes how will that be with gravity or without?

  • Sathish

    Do you have dreams while sleeping in ISS? If yes how will that be with gravity or without?

  • Ted Erne

    I would like to ask Piers what time zone is used aboard the ISS?

  • Ted Erne

    I would like to ask Piers what time zone is used aboard the ISS?

  • johanathan lance tuero

    Do You see UfOs ? you Know somebody was going to ask LOL!

  • johanathan lance tuero

    Do You see UfOs ? you Know somebody was going to ask LOL!

  • Ted Erne

    While viewing the ISS passing overhead one night, I saw a momentary flash of brightness from the ISS. Could this be due to the solar panels changing their configuration at the time?

  • Muneeb

    i love all the question 🙂 i read all the comments that people put here…
    i wanna say one thing. life is not possible except on this earth. never ever. only you can use space to facilitate you on earth i.e., for a global communication. and to other people except astronaut, i will say only that there is no planet in this world like earth. soo wonder full with lovely weathers. delicious fruits, sweets, ice cream, pizza, chocolates, Mac, KFC, Subways, Spicy food 😉 so try to first make a trip of the world then think to go for space.

  • Muneeb

    i love all the question 🙂 i read all the comments that people put here…
    i wanna say one thing. life is not possible except on this earth. never ever. only you can use space to facilitate you on earth i.e., for a global communication. and to other people except astronaut, i will say only that there is no planet in this world like earth. soo wonder full with lovely weathers. delicious fruits, sweets, ice cream, pizza, chocolates, Mac, KFC, Subways, Spicy food 😉 so try to first make a trip of the world then think to go for space.

  • Flowery Jam

    How did you make your dream come true? I want to be an astronaut too…..Can I go to space from now I’m 14..

  • Flowery Jam

    How did you make your dream come true? I want to be an astronaut too…..Can I go to space from now I’m 14..

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