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Post Mission Side Effects

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
June 7, 2009

Keith’s note: You know, after 3 stints on Devon Island – two of which were for a month on site, I have gotten to be very good at doing the mental adjustment to expeditionary life. I just fall into it and go with the flow. Life in a tent, working with electronics and frozen fingers in a tent, eating awful food in a tent, separation from my wife … been there, done that.
[Image: outside my tent packing my bags for the trip down to Kathmandu collecting some rocks for the folks back home enlarge]
But …. so much happened so fast at Everest that I just surfed over it – with the focus on getting the tasks at hand accomplished. When I got sick with food poisoning down at Periche, I focused like a laser beam upon dragging my dehydrated body back to Everest Base Camp – undaunted – to complete my “mission”.
And then Scott summited and a day later we were gone.
Now things are flooding back … my physical summit was Kala Pattar – 18,600 feet – but my emotional summit is still in formulation.
All very strange – but enjoyably strange – its uncharted territory for me.
I need to write the story “Confessions of a Moon Rock Courier” this week. The impression that Sherpas have of holding a moon rock in their hands is … humbling – and instructive. If only we Westerners could be so simple and pure in our appreciation as to what these moon rocks represent.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.