Letters from MIR: An Astronaut's Letters to His Son

 
9780071400091: Letters from MIR: An Astronaut's Letters to His Son

An inspiring, deeply moving testament to the timelessness of paternal love

Dr. Jerry Linenger's 132 days aboard the decaying Russian space station Mir were beset by power outages that left the crew in total darkness and tumbling out of control, poisonous chemical leaks, and near collisions with space debris. Most terrifying of all was a raging fire that, in a matter of minutes, nearly destroyed the station and all on board.

It was with that last event, when, with the crew cut off from the world below and locked in a battle for survival, Linenger's letters to his son changed from a routine chronicle of daily events into the eloquent, deeply moving serial narrative presented in Letters from Mir. Combining wise meditations on life, destiny, and the future of space exploration with wryly playful observations on everyday life, this openended conversation between a father and his beloved son is as contemporary as the latest Mars Explorer mission, yet as timeless as the paternal sentiments they express.

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From the Back Cover:

Inspiring letters of an embattled astronaut in space to his young son on Earth.

In January 1997, astronaut Dr. Jerry Linenger embarked on a "routine" five-month mission to the Russian space station Mir, leaving behind his pregnant wife and 14-month-old son, and the everyday pleasures of planet Earth. Before he left, he promised to write. Though his mission did not go as planned, he kept his word.

Linenger's 132 days aboard the decaying space station were beset by near-fatal glitches that at times left the crew in total darkness, tumbling out of control. Most terrifying was a raging fire that nearly destroyed the station and all on board. It was with this last event, when, with the crew cut off from the world below and locked in a battle for survival, Linenger's letters to his son changed from a routine chronicle of daily events to the heart-felt, deeply moving story shared here.

At the end of each difficult day, Jerry Linenger would fly over to his ceiling-mounted laptop and write to his boy, expressing the thoughts and feelings that any father has for his child--but that too many fail to communicate. In extreme isolation and constant danger, knowing he might never see his family again, Linenger was able to "speak from the heart," sharing meditations on life and destiny, adventure and courage, love and family; and passing on wryly playful pearls of wisdom, from "Never get on a teeter-totter with someone bigger than you" to "Don't give a kiss on impulse."

An inspirational and charming book, Letters from Mir is at once a chronicle of time spent in space and a touching example of how one man's experience off the planet brought him closer to the son he loves.

Dear John,

I decided before this flight that I was going to be a good father and write to you every day....I realize that you are only one year old, and although I exaggerate your talents like any proud father would, I don't think that you can quite read this yet. No problem. When you can, you will feel good knowing that your father loves you...

After circling the planet 2,000 times over the course of 132 days, after battling raging fires, power outages, and a near collision with an incoming spacecraft, astronaut Dr. Jerry Linenger returned to Earth from his stay aboard the failing Russian space station, Mir. Waiting to embrace him were his wife and young son. For five months, he watched over them from his solitary, and often perilous, post among the stars--uncertain he would ever see his family again.

He stayed connected by writing down-linked letters to his son, speaking from the heart to express the thoughts and feelings of a loving father to his child. Now, gathered together in this emotional and charming book, these Letters from Mir share one father's inspiring meditations on life and destiny, and the wryly playful pearls of wisdom he sent to his son from a long and lonely "business trip" in space.

...Good night, son. Sleep tight. I'll be watching over you as usual. Give Mommy a smile for me.

Love, Dad

About the Author:

Jerry M. Linenger, M.D., Ph.D., at the completion of his mission to Mir, had spent more continuous time in space than any other male American astronaut. A Naval Academy graduate and physician, he holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, the University of Southern California, and Wayne State University. The author of the best-selling memoir Off the Planet: Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir, he lives in Michigan with his wife, Kathryn, and their four young children.

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