Talking international collaboration and haircuts on the space station

This week’s Florida’s Fourth Estate guest is Emilee Speck, the host of WKMG’s new podcast called Space Curious

Sometimes normal activities seem strange on the ISS. One astronaut flew to Italy to learn how to properly cut his ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's hair.

Forget about quarantine hair. What about space station hair? It turns out, astronauts must become each other’s hair stylist while living in space.

NASA Astronaut Terry Virts even went to Italy to learn how to cut his coworkers hair the right way. Virts took the trip to learn how to perform the perfect pixie cut for European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who is Italian. And he did a pretty good job.

News 6 space reporter Emilee Speck finds the whole process fascinating, “Scissors? No gravity? hair? That just seems kind of crazy!”

We often take for granted the modern miracle known as the International Space Station. It’s basically a six-bedroom house the length of an American football field and has been floating 200 miles above the Earth for more than two decades. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when a young person in the newsroom asked Speck, how the space station got up there. The result: the first episode of a brand-new WKMG podcast focused on answering your space questions called “Space Curious.”

This question brought us down the rabbit hole of the space station. How do you get your hair cut in space? Also, how do the Russians and Americans get along so well in space, while we have so much drama down here on Earth?

“We’ve had a great relationship with the Russian Space Agency since the beginning of the space station program,” Speck said.

Out of all the astronauts she has interviewed during her career, Speck has never heard an astronaut say a negative word about their Russian counterparts.

In fact, American astronauts must learn Russian when they train with the cosmonauts. Speck said it all comes down to one fact: “Spaceflight is still very hard and still very risky. They’re working together for a common goal.”

There was another other burning question for viewers watching Florida’s Fourth Estate live on Facebook, “Have the astronauts ever seen a UFO?”

The U.S. government recently released videos of U.S. Navy pilots seeing suspicious things in the sky. And, Speck said most astronauts believe we are not alone.

“The universe is too big for us to be alone,” she said, adding she’s never heard an astronaut talk about seeing anything other than strange lights or unexplained phenomena.

New episodes of Space Curious will drop every other Wednesday. Her next episode will tackle the issue of “space junk.” Check out Space Curious and Florida’s Fourth Estate on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Submit questions for Speck and the Space Curious podcast here.

Florida’s Fourth Estate looks at everything from swampy politics to a fragile environment and even the crazy headlines that make Florida the craziest state in the Union.

Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin use decades of experience as journalists to dissect the headlines that impact Florida. Each week they have a guest host who helps give an irreverent look at the issues impacting the Sunshine State. Big influencers like Attorney John Morgan, renowned Florida journalists and the scientists protecting Florida’s ecosystem can often be found as guests.

Look for new episodes every week on iTunes, Sticher or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to the full episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate on iTunes here or on Sticher here.

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning anchor Matt Austin joined the News 6 team in June 2011 and has been the evening news co-anchor since December 2013.