Space Shots

This month, NASA astronaut and mountaineer John Grunsfeld, 49, will blast into orbit carrying a 9x12 Zeiss Maximar B folding camera that belonged to his friend Bradford Washburn—a pioneer of aerial photography and Alaskan mountaineering who passed away last year at 96. The camera is the same one that Washburn took on his 1937 expedition to Canada's St.

OUTSIDE:Why take the camera into space?
GRUNSFELD: The last time I saw Brad was in his hospice room, and above his bed was a picture I'd taken in 2002 of the Hubble Space Telescope. I was so touched. When I got assigned to lead this spacewalking team, I really wanted to take something up to honor him.

Why is this particular camera so significant?
It epitomizes Brad's sense of adventure. In the St. Elias Mountains, he got stranded and had to ditch his gear to make it back—but he still came out holding the camera. That was Brad.

What will you shoot?
If the Himalayas are visible, I'll try and get a nice shot of Mount Everest.

And check out some new routes, no doubt.
I like to joke that one of the reasons I go into space is to scout out climbing sites.

Ever get bored with space?
On my most recent trip up Denali, there were these huge seracs and unbelievable vistas, and I was thinking, "I don't have to fly in space. There are so many beautiful places on Earth…" Then I get back into city life and I'm like, "Yeah, I need to go to space again."

Filed To: Culture / Snow Sports
More Adventure