Our own Rachel Hobson just won first prize in the European Space Agency’s Hubble Pop Culture contest, in the “funniest” category. Her piece took inspiration from one of John Grunsfeld’s spacewalks:
Hubble is amazing and inspirational in its own right, but I really love hearing stories from the people who work on the space telescope. John Grunsfeld is one of my favorite astronauts. He’s a brilliant astronomer, and from interviews I’ve read or seen… he just seems like an all-around fascinating person.
At one point in the Hubble IMAX film, he talks about a particular portion of one of his spacewalks that involved unscrewing more than 100 tiny screws on a part of Hubble.
Now, just take a moment to imagine with me, if you will: Put giant oven mitts on your hands. Now slip a tiny tool between your fingertips. Know that you have more than 100 screws to unscrew on a piece of equipment that is worth millions of dollars and holds great scientific significance. Oh, and don’t forget that you are more than 300 miles above earth on a spaceship that’s traveling at roughly 17, 500 miles per hour.
Here’s where Grunsfeld impresses once again. He talks in the film about how, at this point in his spacewalk, he switches to zen mode. He focuses only on the one screw that he is unscrewing at that very moment. Never how many he’s already undone, never how many he has left.
Just one screw at a time.