Return to Everest 2009
Keith Cowing: Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski, M.D. summitted Mt. Everest in 2009. A few weeks ago, Scott visited a variety of locations in Antarctica including the Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole, as director of the UTMB Center for Polar Operations. When Scott went to the summit of Everest he took my old NASA badge from 1990 and a small "Flat Gorbie" - a photo of astronaut Suni Williams' dog "Gorbie" with him. A photo of Gorbie had been on the ISS and made a second trip there last year. When Scott visited the South Pole he happened to have my NASA badge and another Flat Gorbie - the same one that had been undersea during a NEEMO mission.
Khumbu ice fall, Khumbu Glacier, near the Everest Base Camp. Mt Everest peak (8848 m asl.) is in the upper right background, mostly hidden by its west shoulder. Credits: K. Casey
Glaciers are one of the largest reservoirs of freshwater on our planet, and their melting or freezing is one of the best indicators of climate change. However, knowledge of glacier change has been hampered by lack of data, especially for understanding regional behaviour.
"If you've ever seen a Starfleet away team beaming down to a new planet, you know that the first thing they do is whip out their tricorder and scan everything. Many of NASA's astrobiologists want one. Well, Scott and I had one at Everest."
Explanation (its complicated): This is my friend and Challenger Center co-conspirator Gwen Griffin at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan where the Soyuz rocket in the background will be launched this weekend. On board will be astronaut Suni Williams. Suni is the next door neighbor of Gwen's boyfriend Al Saylor (skydiver extraordinaireÂ ) in Friendswood, TX. Suni owns a Jack Russell terrier named "Gorbie". Â
"Because it is there." George Mallory aptly summed up the reason mountaineers worldwide respond to the irresistible pull of Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal were the first to complete the hazardous trek to the summit of the world's highest mountain, rising 29,035 feet above sea level. Scaling Everest is more than a climb: it is the ultimate destination for mountaineers. GeoEye-1 .50-meter resolution collected 21 November 2009. Stunning larger imagery at GeoEye. Note: This image was taken 6 months after astronaut Scott Parazynski reached the summit.