Brown alum chats with Colbert from ISS before return to Earth

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In September, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir became the first Brown University alumna in space as part of a special mission to the International Space Station.

Meir, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown in 1999, lifted off from Kazakhstan on board a Soyuz rocket.

On Thursday, she appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert before her return to Earth on Friday. Here are some of the highlights:

What is it like to experience the global pandemic from orbit?

“It has been very surreal to experience this, to watch this situation unfold on the ground of this global pandemic and it has felt very surreal because we are up here going about our normal day. The whole issue has been pretty transparent to us because our ground teams, while their lives are affected, it is really a seamless transition continuing to get our jobs done up here. We are talking to our family, friends, and we are watching the news feed so it’s a little bit difficult for us to believe that we are truly going back to a different planet.”

I understand astronauts are trained to deal with isolation, do you have any advice for the people back home who are getting cabin fever?

“We have actually been posting some of our advice on social media. I think some of the things that help us up here are to continue getting our daily exercise, to keep to a schedule and a routine, those things are important for both our mental and physical well-being, to make sure that we are playing nicely with other, to treat each other well, kindly, with respect, and to get along well and to also keep having a little bit of fun as well. I think that is very important for your psychological well-being.”

Would you recommend space to other people?

“Absolutely! We feel so fortunate to be among the few people that have been up here and I wish that I could share it with everybody. That’s one of the goals of my mission is to try and share it with as many people as possible because I just think it is so important to have this privilege to be up here and looking down at the planet from up here. It really does change your perspective as a human.”

Since there’s no sense of direction, do you feel like you are looking down at the Earth, or looking up at the Earth, or are you just sort of next to the Earth?

“You are sort of just next to it. We really aren’t that far away, we are only 250 miles up, so it’s not as if we can see the whole round planet. We can only see a small portion of it.”

You can also watch the segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert here:

Or on YouTube here:

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