Ed Gibson, the final astronaut to leave the NASA Skylab space station in 1974 says he’d go to space again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.
Gibson has a PhD from the California Institute of Technology and was part of the first group of ‘science-astronauts’ employed by NASA to go to space.
He specialised in solar physics and observed flares from the sun while onboard the orbiting laboratory, laying the groundwork for future work exploring our star and forecasting solar weather.
‘We can look at the corona, the region around the sun, just like we do down here. But on Earth we have to wait for a solar eclipse, up there we could see the atmosphere of the sun anytime we were in sunlight,’ he said.
The astronaut is the last surviving member of ‘Skylab 4’ the final mission of three to go to the station, launching in 1973. Along with commander Gerald Carr and pilot William Pogue, he spent 84 days in space on the station.
Before going into space, Gibson served as CAPCOM for the Apollo 12 lunar landing – the first from the ‘scientist-astronaut’ group to get a crew assignment of any kind. He was also involved in the design of much of the Skylab space station.
During his time on the station Gibson had to go out into space during a spacewalk, looking down on the wide Earth spinning below him.
‘The whole experience of life on Skylab, as well as the space walk, changes your perception,’ Gibson told MailOnline.
This is because it ‘makes you realise how ‘one we are’, that the world is one humanity, with different countries and interests, but you get the feeling ‘we are one’ and should behave that way,’ he explained.
The interview was recorded for an article I wrote for MailOnline about his time on the Skylab space station.