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Astronaut Candidate Interviews - Thomas Marshburn
10.21.04
The adaptive is mentioned two times. One was more of a, uh, psychological extreme, backpacking in the Pacific Crest Trail. I was alone for four months. It took six months to do the, the hike. There was one time in there when I was completely isolated. I'd hiked off of the map. Uh, off of the USGS topographical maps that I had with me. I had hiked off of the map, in snow, didn't have a trail, just trying to work my way through the mountains. I was following deer tracks actually. Uh, I'd been alone for, for quite a while at that time. And, there was an, an intense feeling of, of being alone, but not feeling lonely, if you know what I mean. It was a very fascinating feeling. Uh, the, uh, all my work since then has been with people obviously. Uh, space flight is, uh, very much a team effort. But, uh, that was a, a fascinating experience! The other time was, from a physical standpoint, I climbed a mountain, uh, Mount Aconcagua in the Andes in South America. Uh, the mountain's just shy of 23,000 feet. Uh, not much oxygen; it's about half an atmosphere up there. It took about three hours (I think) to climb the last five hundred feet, because you're moving pretty slowly at that point. And, it was, I've always loved testing my limits, just to see what it would feel like to come against that limit. And, uh, the hypoxia and the fatigue were, were fascinating actually.