- Dr Story Musgrave was never your typical, laconic American
- The six-time space traveller, who retired from NASA in
1997 after 30 years, holds a masters degree in literature, talks passionately
about his new life as an artist, and is convinced intelligent life is out
there, somewhere - if only we would look for it.
- He admits to having heard music in space - music none
of his crewmates could hear.
- "I am sure the [NASA]) administration did think
I was eccentric," said Dr Musgrave, 64, who is in Sydney for the Qualcon
2000 business conference at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern.
- A keen photographer, Dr Musgrave snapped 10,000 pictures
of Earth from space. He has brought hundreds with him to show Australians
- including one of Uluru, which he regards as one of his great achievements.
- "I worked for decades to get that," he said.
"I understood the historic, the mythological and spiritual significance
of the rock. I thought it would be marvellous to frame it in a spaceship
- It is exceedingly difficult to find ... it's nowhere.
It wasn't till my sixth flight that I got it."
- He has also snapped the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids
at Giza in Egypt.
- "You can't see the pyramids with the naked eye,
you only see the shadows," he said, also dismissing as a myth claims
that astronauts had seen the Great Wall of China.
- Sand dunes appeared majestic from space. "If you
look at the creativity of the sand and the wind, it is just poetic ...
takes your breath away. The wind is actually painting."
- Dr Musgrave, who was involved in salvaging the Hubble
Space Telescope in 1993 and who made his last flight in 1996 at age 61,
was asked if he believed the manned space effort was boring. "Yes,
yes," he replied, adding that the public wanted the exploration of
deep space and a search for extraterrestrial life.
- "Exploration and discovery helps you define yourself.
What is the universe, what's our place in it, what's it mean to be a human
- Dr Musgrave said he regretted the United States Government
was not funding any search for extraterrestrial life. "Any form of
contact or the detection of any signal ... would be the most momentous
thing that could happen to us," he said.
- It was on his last flight that Dr Musgrave heard mysterious
music. "I wasn't hearing things," he said. "It was noble,
- But his crewmates heard nothing, and his claims concerned
NASA. "I was a little on the margin ... I was walking the edge."
- Dr Musgrave now works for Disney, hoping to help ordinary
people "have a space experience".
- "They expect me to be on the edge, or over it.
I fit in incredibly well."
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