During his sitdown with Big Think, Astronaut Leroy Chiao explained the challenges of lengthy trips to space, including bone and muscle loss, as well as the dangers of fatigue. But some of the most interesting parts of his interview related to his philosophy on life and how to get ahead. For instance, he explained how growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the Midwest was challenging for a first-generation Chinese-American, especially for someone who's small of stature.
Along with unique insights into life, Chiao also had fascinating stories to tell about working at NASA in the wake of the Cold War. He described how in the early 1990s, he and many of his colleagues viewed Russian cosmonauts with suspicion until Russo-American relations eventually warmed. Chiao learned Russian in order to win over his new comrades and used this skill as Commander of Expedition 10.