Space is a desert unlike anything encountered on Earth. The humanbody is not configured to be able to survive in the cold, dark vacuum ofthis unearthly realm; creatures of this planet were never meant to gointo space. We can only go there if we make machines to take and provideus with all the necessary things our bodies need to stay alive.
To survive and thrive in this machine-dominated environment, we needto know how those machines work and how to maintain them. This takes astrong background in technical subjects—mathematics, science, andengineering. These subjects are interesting, and for many people, mostlyfun. But they can be difficult to master.
The theoretical basis for our machines must be understood, but wemust also have the practical hands-on mechanical-electrical skillsneeded to keep them running and fix them when they break down. Crewmembers who work on their cars and do their own home repairs are wellprepared for what is required when they venture into space. Whensomething breaks on a spacecraft, you have to get your hands dirty.
If you want to fly into space and be a part of this new frontier, youmust study and absorb the fundamentals of these subjects, and developthe hands-on repair skills needed to keep things running smoothly. As inany wilderness, be it on Earth or in space, if you should find yourselfwithout the necessary technical knowledge and skills, you will be atthe mercy of the elements. You will have compromised your ability tocomplete the mission, and perhaps even decreased your chances ofsurvival.
Don’s blog also appears at airspacemag.com.