Brad Pitt stars in upcoming science fiction film “Ad Astra” about an astronaut’s journey throughout the solar system to find his missing father.
Now the actor is getting the chance to talk to someone with real-life experience in space.
Pitt had a conversation about life in space with Nick Hague, who has been an astronaut since 2013 and is currently part of the Expedition 59 and 60 crew on the International Space Station.
On the video call, the two discussed everything from Hague’s day-to-day life to his relationship with NASA’s team on the ground to what the astronaut thought of “Ad Astra.”
The astronaut and some other residents on the ISS watched the film prior to his conversation with Pitt. He explained to the actor how grateful he was that he was raising awareness for space exploration.
“Thank you for what you’re doing to contribute to the mission of awareness and to light that fire in the imaginations of the next generation of explorers,” he told Pitt.
“I got to tell you it was really good,” Hague said on the film. “The depictions, the settings, all, as you can tell, look very similar to the type of setting I’ve got around me.”
Pitt asked about how Hague and the rest of the crew manage their sleep schedules and what their working hours are like.
Hague explained that astronauts on the ISS “do a lot to try to manage that circadian rhythm” by using different hues of the color spectrum to differentiate times of the day, following Greenwich Mean Time.
He shared that they typically have a 12-hour workday, from about 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the ISS does have a night shift on the ground.
“There’s actually a massive team on the ground that is controlling about 95% of what happens on the space station, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Hague explained.
“It is an amazing orchestration of an international program that comes together to truly achieve something that we can’t do alone,” he continued. “It’s through that strength through diversity that we’re able to successfully operate at this station for two decades.”
The actor was also interested in learning about the astronaut’s current missions and what it’s like being away from his family.
Hague shared that he’s almost finished with his time in space — he’s been on the ISS for more than 180 days and is expected to return from his 200-day mission in early October.
In response to Pitt’s question about how his time in space and away from his family affects his mental state, Hague explained that technology allows him to stay connected.
“Being apart from your family, your friends, your loved ones, is a challenge and one of the luxuries I think we have of working in low Earth orbit, close to the Earth, is the amount of connectivity that we have,” Hague shared.
“The ability to make phone calls and check in on a routine basis, to every weekend being able to do a video conference with my kids and share a little bit of the experience of there with them, but also be a part of their life and understand what their going through on the ground so that we have shared experience,” he added.
The astronaut also shared his thoughts on the notion of feeling insignificant when one has the chance to see Earth from space.
“One of the special things about being up here is being able to float over the window and see the Earth below — to look down 250 miles, and with your naked eye you can see the crop circles in Kansas, in Missouri,” he shared. “You can see humanity below you glide by as we go screaming through the sky at five miles a second.”
“You get a perspective that you’re away from the Earth and then [with] the same view you can see the moon rising over the horizon and you get this idea that … I’m just kind of in the cosmos — that perspective really challenges you because now you’re looking down at everything you’ve ever known, all of humanity, right there and you have this deep appreciation for how big the universe really is.”
Pitt ended the conversation in the best way possible — by asking which actor portrayed an astronaut better: him in “Ad Astra” or George Clooney in 2013 film “Gravity.”
Hague answered that Pitt was the winner there, and offered a compliment to the actor on his impact in opening audiences’ eyes to space exploration.
“What you do and what you’re able to do through story telling to inspire the next generation is so critical to the success of our programs in the future,” Hague said.
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