Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

September 15, 2006

My Favorite Things!

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 8:15 pm

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was The Sound of Music. I still remember a few of the lyrics in both Farsi and English. The song I like most is “My Favorite Things.”

I actually recited this song over and over when I had to do my spinning chair training. I will send a short, low-quality video that someone took with a small photo camera.

The test is supposed to help you with your vestibular system. As you may know, when you fly in zero-G your vestibular system gets all messed up, sort of like when you are on a boat. You can get nauseous and feel miserable. The effects differ by individual. Some people are more susceptible to this problem and some adapt very quickly, but one of the essential things that is packed in our space suit, in a nice easily accessible pocket, is a “barf bag” (sorry I don’t know the technical term for it).

The views on the effectiveness of this test vary. Basically there are two types of exercises, one is spinning in one direction for 10-15 minutes while you move your head from shoulder to shoulder, left and right. In the other test, you spin in one direction for one minute, stop and then spin in the reverse direction. While spinning you have to bend forward at the waist and back. This is also done for 10-15 minutes. You may think this one is easier, but actually it is more difficult. Feel free to try it at home… Have a friend spin you on an office chair and try it. Just make sure you have a barf bag nearby 😉

As you can imagine, this is NOT one of my favorite things, so by singing the song or doing simple math calculations in my head I keep myself from getting sick. I had to do this exercise several times in Star City and almost everyday since we arrived in Baikonur.

Talking about favorite things, I thought you may be curious to know some of mine… I love listening to music. I have no talent in playing any instrument but I love listening to all sort of instruments, specially violin, santur and daf (the last two instruments are used in Persian music, you can see them on this website.) .

I like instrumental and new age music, but I also love listening to jazz and blues, light rock and dance music. I guess the only music I don’t listen to often is heavy metal. I guess I’m too old for it ;-).

So here are a few of my favorite things…

Favorite books:
How to Change the World by David Bornstein (I’m trying to have this book translated to Farsi)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The Little Prince ~ Le Petit Prince ~ Shazdeh Khouchoulu (My favorite childhood book)

Favorite Movies:
Of course Star Trek 😉
Last of the Mohicans
Pay it Forward

Favorite Artists:
Googoosh J
Sting (especially Fragile)
Dianne Krall
Oysten Sevag (specially Norwegian Mountains)
Rod Stewart
Michael Buble
Ziba Shirazi
Andrea Bocelli
Shahin & Sepehr
Deep Dish

Favorite Songs:
Faith of the Heart by Rod Stewart
Imagine by John Lennon
Fragile by Sting
Upside Down by Jack Johnson
Mass Destruction by Faithless
Rise Again by DJ Sammy
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
Zan by Ziba Shirazi
Title song for Last of the Mohicans soundtrack
Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
I Don’t Want to be a Stupid Girl by Pink (Great, fun video too)
Stop Your Fussin’ by Toni Childs
The Entire CD from Notre Dame de Paris musical

Why Space?

Filed under: Personal Spaceflight — by Peter @ 4:28 am

Great blogs Anousheh! I know that your upcoming trip into Orbit is just the beginning. Together, the Ansari Family, X PRIZE, Space Adventures, ZERO-G, Rocket Racing League and many companies yet to come will give birth to a new industry that will allow millions to follow in your footsteps. It is only the beginning!

I spent today at MIT giving two keynotes about the Ansari X PRIZE and the future X PRIZEs. The students here are all looking forward to receiving your call from the space station next Friday the 22nd. MIT professor Jeff Hoffman (five-time Astronaut), a faculty member of the Man Vehicle Laboratory, is working to coordinate the event with Karina and choose the questions.

Early today I spoke to Charles Simonyi (Microsoft billionaire creator of Excel and Word) who is flying next spring on Soyuz through Space Adventures. He sends his very best and wishes you a safe journey. Turns out I called your old apartment in Moscow by mistake and he answered. He’s living there during his training at Star City.

He wants to ask you what he should plan to bring with him to Orbit… He mentioned that he has an amazing 10 kilogram allocation of personal effects. By the way, what personal items are you bringing with you orbit? Did you get a chance to bring along the X PRIZE flag and patches?

He also would appreciate knowing what kind of photographic equipment is up there on ISS… what equipment is operational, what lenses you have access to during your stay. He looks forward to seeing you when you come down to get the “scoop” on his upcoming trip.

Anousheh, what I believe most people don’t understand is why space is important. Why did we create the Ansari X PRIZE first? Why not an X PRIZE in some other field like poverty, medicine or energy, some of the next prizes we’re working on?

The future of humanity lies in space. As we continue to develop on Earth, we will need to reach out beyond this planet for resources. Space offers humanity infinite resources… the energy, metals, minerals and real estate we need to grow.

Space also offers us hope, hope for new tomorrows, for unknown discoveries, for growth, discovery and experimentation. It’s where we will spread the knowledge and seed of humanity… “back up the biosphere” as a friend Elon Musk likes to say. During our lifetime humanity will irreversibly move off the Earth into the cosmos.

These early steps that we “astropreneurs” are taking are critical. They are the equivalent of Lindbergh for aviation or Netscape for the internet.

Thank you Anousheh for investing and risking to make your (our) dreams come true!

Peter H. Diamandis (at MIT in Cambridge, MA)

Blog at