Astronauts tell Scott Pelley what he's missing

CBS Evening News spoke Monday with two men who may just have the best jobs in the universe.

U.S. Navy Commander Reid Wiseman, from Baltimore, is an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and he's developed quite a following by tweeting about his experience since he got there 11 days ago.

Dr. Steven Swanson, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is on his third mission aboard the station, where he's made a total of five spacewalks.

Speaking to the astronauts Monday via satellite link, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley said he had wanted to become an astronaut as a young man, and asked Wiseman what he was missing by remaining Earth-bound.

"I don't think we have enough time on this program to give you all the basics," replied Wiseman, "but I would say the view out the window is way beyond what I ever dreamed it would be."

Evoking his own childhood memories of wishing he could "float everywhere," Wiseman tucked his knees up to his chest and, with a gentle nudge from his colleague, began gently somersaulting in the weightlessness of space.

"Up here it's just no problem," he said as he rolled over and over, "you just float on down to the bathroom, you float over to the window, float on down to the dinner table... really, it's better than you could ever think."

Swanson then explained that while the astronauts "like to have fun" while orbiting the Earth, "our mission is science up here."

"We perform over 170 experiments while we're up here, and of course we have to maintain the station to keep it running efficiently and smoothly," explained Swanson.

Turning back to Wiseman, whose Twitter photos from the ISS have gone viral, Pelley asked which were the astronaut's favorites.

"Certainly so far, coming up over the coast of Chile and seeing the volcanic field, that was really spectacular," he replied. "And then just this morning we came up over the northern coast of Australia and we just looked down -- the way the clouds and the red desert met the ocean, it's burned in my mind."

Pelley told Wiseman that one of his favorite images captured by the astronaut was one of a red die floating in space with the Earth below.

"Do you guys get a craps game going every once in a while?" joked Pelley.

"Well, I think it would be hard," said Wiseman. "I think we would throw the dice and they would just keep going down to the Russian segment, so we might have to work on that one this weekend."


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