What is space? Shannon Walker says there are many answers to this question.
“We have stars, planets and galaxies in space. There’s lots of nothingness out there, but it’s really not,” she says. “There’s gas, dust and other bits of matter floating around ‘emptier’ areas of the universe, but you can’t see it very easily.”
Walker is an astronaut with NASA, the US space agency. She lived and worked for six months on the International Space Station in 2010. Walker says her ride to and from the space station was on a Soyuz spacecraft, for which she trained as a co-pilot, and flew with the Russians.
“I spent a lot of time in Russia training and learning how to fly that spacecraft. I was fully trained just like the commander to do everything that needed to be done, so that was exciting,” she says. Learning how to and being expected to know how to fly an international partner vehicle is quite something, especially having to do it all in Russian,” Walker says.