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An Astronaut Describes What It's Like to Come Back to Earth from Space

You may remember Leland Melvin as the astronaut whose NASA portrait includes his two dogs.

by Rachel Pick
Feb 22 2016, 6:45pm

Image credit: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

Remember this picture?

The adorable NASA portrait of astronaut Leland Melvin with his dogs has been passed around the internet a fair bit, and here's your chance to get to know the man behind the picture. In this mostly animated short from Great Big Story, Melvin talks about what it's like to come home after time spent in space.

Melvin talks about seeing his family and friends, eating non-astronaut food and walking on solid ground as three of the best things about coming home. He also describes some degree of disorientation, saying that he would wake up unsure if he was still in space or home on Earth. In voiceover, he says walking on the beach and looking at the horizon helped him regain physical perspective. "It kind of helps you re-gauge… your inner ears," he says.

Now retired from NASA, Melvin completed two missions on Space Shuttle Atlantis, delivering materials to the International Space Station and helping install the European Space Agency's Columbus Laboratory, and logging a combined 565 hours in space. He was also almost in the NFL (hamstring injuries hampered his career) and has guest starred on Top Chef and Dog Whisperer.

And he has two awesome dogs. What a life.