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Astronaut Jessica Meir Returns Home to a “Completely Different Planet”

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Astronaut Jessica Meir Returns Home to a “Completely Different Planet”

After nearly seven months at the International Space Station, the Maine native is grateful for salads – but still processing the gravity of a world in quarantine.

Vanity Fair,

5 min read
4 take-aways
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What's inside?

Astronaut Jessica Meir spent seven months on the International Space Station and came home to a changed world.


Editorial Rating

9

Qualities

  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring

Recommendation

Astronaut Jessica Meir made headlines with her crewmate Christina Koch when they performed the first all-women spacewalk aboard the International Space Station. Meir spent more than seven months in space. Vanity Fair’s Laura Regensdorf interviewed Meir after her return to Earth seeking her perspective on how coronavirus quarantine protocols resemble the isolation of space and what it was like for Meir to land in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summary

Astronaut Jessica Meir had the ultimate quarantine experience aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

On April 17, 2020, Jessica Meir returned to Earth after seven months aboard the International Space Station. An adventurer, Jessica once dove into freezing Antarctic waters to study the physiology of penguins for her doctorate in marine biology. On this trip, she took part in the first all-women spacewalk. She and crewmate Christina Koch floated in space for more than seven hours. Meir viewed the Earth from 265 miles above the Atlantic Ocean, knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading through the lands she saw below.

While orbiting in the space station, Meir posted pictures of the Earth with the hashtag #EarthStrong to show solidarity with those suffering below. During her mission, NASA created new safety rules for returning astronauts as precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

The crew re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in the Russian-built Soyuz, with only its metal skin and windows separating them from the raging plasma fire outside the craft. As surreal as that experience was, Meir found it even more surreal...

About the Author

Laura Regensdorf is Beauty Director at Vanity Fair.


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