Saturday, June 27, 2015
By Andrew Katz
Terry Virts knows he’s lucky. The American astronaut recently returned from nearly seven months on the International Space Station, his second trip to space, which ended up lasting longer than expected.
Virts, along with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, was forced to stay board the Space Station for an additional month after an arriving Russian cargo vessel malfunctioned in April and later burned up in the atmosphere.
During their 199 days in space, they conducted hundreds of scientific experiments and went on three spacewalks. Back on the ground after his return on June 11, Virts discussed, in an exclusive interview with TIME, his extended stay in space and where he finds the time to photograph the Earth amid a packed schedule.
“I was ready to stay up there because there were still pictures I wanted to take, there were still videos I wanted to do,” he says. “If you’re an astronaut flying in space, you gotta look at that as your last flight. And so you gotta enjoy it. And I’ve got the rest of my life to be on Earth.”
Virts, 47, is a Maryland native with a wife and two children. He was selected as a NASA pilot in 2000 and began training shortly afterward. This trip to space ended up some 15 times longer than his first, a 13-day mission on space shuttle Endeavour in 2010, and gave him more opportunities to show the rest of us what he sees.
Throughout his stay aboard the Space Station—he traveled about 84 million miles since last November—Virts was shooting stills and videos that were later posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine with support from his colleagues on the ground. He captured lightning storms over the Himalayas, Mexico and the American heartland; overhead shots of the ice fields of Patagonia and painterly farms of central Brazil—all images that showed the natural beauty of the planet. On his last day, he finally managed to get a shot of the pyramids in Giza, Egypt.
It all helps him connect with Earth, he says, describing a need to document what he sees and share it with others. “It’s just part of my personality and part of what I want to do. And it’s a challenge.”
That’s an understatement.
The Space Station orbits the Earth 16 times each day, at 17,500 mph. “Things go by so fast, or you look on—we have these computer maps where it shows where we are over the Earth—and you’re like, ‘Man, I just missed that target,’” he says.
Other things can get in the way, too. The desired target could be too far in the distance, or maybe there’s weather above it, or perhaps the pass is in the middle of sleep or work. Beyond the technical aspect, there’s an artistic one, too: “Does it capture the feeling, and the emotion, in the sense of what you’re seeing? That’s a bigger challenge—the one that I like and the one that you just can’t do,” he tells TIME.
One thing that was visible from space, Virts notes, is wealth around the world, evident by city lights at night. “At nighttime obviously, cities make you feel connected there. I think more than connected, it makes you learn about Earth,” he says. “You can really tell what economies are doing well.”
Central Europe, from England to about Poland, for example, is “just completely bright,” he says. In the sparsely populated Russian lands east of Moscow, “there’s not a lot of lights.” Cairo is “super bright” and there are “really bright European-looking cities” in South Africa, but otherwise, he says, “the whole continent in between is mostly dark, with just little orange dots here and there.”
Still, the most stark contrast—“it’s literally night and day,” he says—is North and South Korea. “There’s all this bright economic activity,” around Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul, “and then there is a black hole with one very small white dot, and that’s Pyongyang.”
His time in space has afforded him the chance to learn to associate colors with different places on Earth. “I have a new sense of the different continents and countries on Earth than I did before,” he says. “You learn, you feel this connection with different places on Earth by what you see in space.”
When he thinks of Australia, for example, he thinks of red. “The outback is really red, it’s amazingly red,” Virts says. India and the jungles of central Africa are “hazy.” Beijing and Shanghai, the Chinese megacities, are “just brown,” due to pollution. Russia during the winter is “thousands and thousands of miles of white,” and the Bahamas are green and turquoise. “I want to go there,” he says, noting that his travel bucket list got much bigger.
Sunrises, “were always one of my favorite things,” he adds. “I saw colors that I had never seen before.” He describes the distinct bands that he could see looking down on the atmosphere, ones that our eyes can’t see from the ground. “Trying to capture those with a camera is really tough.” Virts experimented with the burst mode and “a lot of different shutter speeds and apertures to try and get the colors.” Still, he says, “I never found a picture that captured everything that the eye saw.”
As the interview wrapped up, Virts recalls a story by a friend. A fellow astronaut, Mike Fincke was asked before a space launch about his favorite planet. “Is it Mars? Is it Jupiter?” Fincke was asked. “And when he came back from his Space Station mission, he said, ‘My favorite planet is Earth.’”
“There’s definitely no place like this in the universe,” Virts says, “that’s for sure.”
Interview by Shaul Schwarz and Jonathan Woods. See the trailer of A Year in Space, a multi-part documentary series produced by TIME’s Red Border Films and directed by Shaul Schwarz and Marco Grob.
GRAHAM ELLIOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is
pleased to announce that celebrity chef Graham Elliot will make a
one-day appearance at the Taste of Chicago on Wednesday, July 8. This
special treat for visitors will feature an opportunity to purchase his
signature Lobster Corndogs throughout the day.
35TH ANNUAL TASTE OF CHICAGO IN GRANT PARK ON JULY 8
The acclaimed chef will tempt Taste goers with his signature Lobster Corndogs
Graham Elliot will appear at the Taste of Chicago Preview on Daley Plaza at noon today (June 24) to pass out a limited number of free samples of his Truffled Popcorn with Parmesan, Chive, and Sea Salt.
The highly anticipated, five-day food and entertainment festival Taste of Chicago – the world's largest food festival – is July 8-12 in Grant Park. Showcasing Chicago’s diverse culinary scene, the list of five-day vendors, pop-up restaurants and food trucks will offer Taste-goers an endless variety of dining options to suit every palate. Taste of Chicago is excited to welcome 60 restaurants, included 19 newcomers to the event with six new five-day restaurants, five new food trucks and eight new pop-up participants who will sell for one or two days. For a list of all participating restaurants and food trucks, visit TasteofChicago.us
Taste of Chicago is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in coordination with the Illinois Restaurant Association, which manages food and beverage operations. The festival is sponsored in part by Aquafina, Bud Light, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Transit Authority, Communications Direct, CLTV-Chicagoland’s Television, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Gallo Family Vineyards, Humana, Illinois Lottery, LaGROU Distribution System, Mariano’s, Metra, Pepsi, Pure Leaf, Shoreline Sightseeing, Southwest Airlines, TAIWAN EXCELLENCE, V103, WGN-TV, 101WKQX and 93XRT.
The 35th Annual Taste of Chicago is July 8–12 in Grant Park with hours 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Wednesday–Friday, and 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the FREE admission festival, call 312.744.3316 or visit tasteofchicago.us. Join the conversation on Facebook at Taste of Chicago and follow us on Twitter, @TasteofChi (#TasteofChi) and Instagram, @ChicagoDCASE (#TasteofChi).
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
The Ultimate Fitness Marathon to save lives, for men and women of all fitness levels in Chicago, September 20th and Cleveland, October 11thBright Pink, a national non-profit on a mission to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer is excited to announce FitFest 2015 dates—the sixth annual event in Chicago on September 20th and the second annual event in Cleveland on October 11th. So, gather your friends and family and join Bright Pink to take breast and ovarian cancer awareness and transform it into life-saving action.
Chicago’s fundraising event will take place at Fitness Formula Club: Union Station (FFC, 444 West Jackson Blvd) from 9:00AM-3:00PM. A modern day take on the more traditional walk or run fundraiser, FitFest is the perfect opportunity for men and women of all fitness levels – there is something for everyone. Participants will take fitness to an entirely new level by building their own perfect health & wellness day from a series of high-energy work outs led by FFC as well as The Dailey Method, Shred415, and WERQ instructors, to breast and ovarian health education, wellness workshops, beauty services, healthy treats and more. Additionally, Bright Pink is proud to welcome the Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy trainers who will lead participants through a series of basketball skills and drills workshops.
“We are beyond grateful to all of our participants over the past five years,” says Bright Pink Founder, Lindsay Avner. “For FitFest 2015, our goal is to attract 1,000 men and women fundraising participants —with those numbers we could raise over $500,000 which would enable us to educate 2,500 doctors through our Women’s Health Provider Educational Initiative, 24,000 women through our Brighten Up Educational Workshops, and empower 8,800 throughAssessYourRisk.org.”
Chicago Event Information
• Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 9:00AM-3:00PM
• Fitness Formula Club Union Station; 444 West Jackson Blvd
• Instructors Include: Lois Miller & Antonio Coke (FFC), Bonnie & Tracy (Shred415), Tami Conway (Dailey Method), Haley Stone (WERQ)
• Additional vendors include: Paul Mitchell, Aerie, Argo Tea, NorthShore University HealthSystems, Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy, and Counsyl
• Sunday, October 11, 2015 10:00AM – 4:00PM
• Mandel JCC; 26001 South Woodland Road Beachwood, OH 44122
• Lineup includes: Spin, Cardio Dance, Yoga, and more
Participate as an individual ($500 minimum), as a team with your friends or with your corporation ($5,000 minimum for a corporate team of 12). All money raised will fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving breast and ovarian health programs.
In addition to making a difference, receiving life-saving education, and an overall unforgettable experience, all participants will be gifted with a swag bag filled.
For more information on both events and to sign up visit BrightPink.org/FitFest
Photos and Bright Pink fundraising outcomes available upon request.
About Bright Pink
Bright Pink® is the only national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. The organization’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by getting them to live proactively at a young age. Bright Pink’s innovative programs educate and equip young women to assess their riskfor breast and ovarian cancer, reduce their risk, and detect these diseases at early, non life-threatening stages. Founded by Lindsay Avner in 2007, Bright Pink strives to reach the 52 million women in the US between the ages of 18-45 years old with this life-saving education. Put Awareness In Action™ at BrightPink.org.
World Music Festival Chicago Returns September 11-22 Celebrating Diverse International Musicians (Chicago,IL)
17TH ANNUAL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL CHICAGO CELEBRATESWorld music unites at the 17th Annual World Music Festival Chicago from September 11–22, 2015 at a variety of venues throughout the city. Celebrating the diverse music from nations across the globe, this FREE festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. Expanded to 12 days, this year’s festival features an Ethiopian New Year celebration, Ragamala, a celebration of Indian Classical Music, dozens of award-winning world music artists and more.
DIVERSE INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS SEPTEMBER 11-22
DIVERSE INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS SEPTEMBER 11-22
Highlights of the 2015 World Music Festival Chicago include four concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park by many of international music’s biggest names. On the first weekend, Red Baraat brings their one-of-a-kind bhangra funk and La Santa Cecilia plays its signature Latin sound to festival-goers on Saturday, September 12. On Sunday, September 13, internationally known Ethio-jazz artist Mahmoud Ahmed performs as part of the Ethiopian New Year celebration. Moroccan multi-instrumentalist Aziz Sahmaoui also performs on September 12 with his group, the University of Gnawa. During the second weekend of World Music Festival Chicago, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park will host Nigerian afrobeat artist Orlando Julius along with Niger trance-rockers Tal National on Saturday, September 19. The final concert at Millennium Park features acclaimed Indian violinist L. Subramaniam and the legendary Pakistani ensemble, Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad Qawwal and Brotherson Sunday, September 20.
Throughout the week of September 11, World Music Festival Chicago celebrates the Ethiopian New Year with performances by some of the biggest Ethiopian artists. On Friday, September 11, a double-bill concert featuring Red Baraat and Ethiopian-Israeli cross-overartist Ester Rada takes place at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.; Ages 18+). Also on Friday, Legendary Ethio-jazz artist Hailu Mergia performs at Martyrs (3855 N. Lincoln Ave.; 21+) and with Ester Rada who performs for a second time during the weekend at The Promontory (5311 South Lake Park Avenue West, ALL AGES) on Saturday, September 12.
Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music takes place at the Chicago Cultural Center on Friday, September 18, at 8 p.m. A tradition in India, the all-night classical concerts are rarely held in the United States and this gives visitors the opportunity to hear ragas (traditional scales or modes) that are rarely performed in public and are only performed early in the morning or late at night. This unique experience will continue through 8 a.m. and will feature more than 10 groups and artists.
On Saturday, September 19, Manitoba artist Tanya Tagaq adds her signature style of pulsating breath and Inuit throat singing to complement a screening of the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North. Presented with the Museum of Contemporary Art, this inventive live accompaniment to the silent frames adds a relevant new light to a film about an early 20th-century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Contempoary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.).
One of the final events of the festival is the popular open house at the Chicago Cultural Center, “One World Under One Roof,” on Sunday, September 20, from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Performances take place throughout the building including Preston Bradley Hall and the Claudia Cassidy Theater. Giving visitors an immersive and diverse world music experience all in one building, performances include Chicago guitarist Andrea Kapsalis, Finnish folk group, Kardemimmit and Georgian folk music group Zedashe.
The full World Music Festival Chicago line-up will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
The FREE admission World Music Festival Chicago is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored by the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, Metra and Millennium Garages. The appearance of La Santa Cecilia, is supported by the National Museum of Mexican Art as part of their annual Sor Juana Festival, a multidisciplinary festival that honors one of Mexico’s greatest writers, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th-century Mexican nun who valued the education of women.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This include fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.