Astronauts have countless official tasks to accomplish once they’re up and out of Earth’s atmosphere. But space walkers need hobbies, too.
If you’re gone for six months, you can’t spend all your time nose-to-the-grindstone working,” says Don Pettit, a NASA astronaut who has lived on the International Space Station for 370 days over the course of three missions. “You need to have some means of relaxing, and I like to refer to it as ‘orbital scrimshaw’” -- in other words, a space-based hobby.
Pettit himself partook in a longtime passion: photography. Since his first mission aboard the ISS as part of Expedition 6 in 2002, he’s taken hundreds of thousands of images, focusing his skilled eye through small windows on views of Earth, and beyond.