Send Your Thoughts With A NASA Astronaut To The Summit Of Mt. Everest

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Editor's 11 May note: Astronaut and mountaineer Scott Parazynski is resting at Everest Base Camp for a few days after a series of climbs up and down Mt. Everest designed to acclimatize his body - and hone his climbing skills. Scott called me several times on Tuesday - as he has since he arrived a month ago to update me on his progress. I expect several more phone calls in the next several days.

The current thinking is that the summit window is centered on 22 May. Weather and human traffic are the main factors affecting his progress to the summit. Given that it takes a week to do the trek up the mountain, summit, and then head back down, we expect that he'll be heading off this weekend for his "summit push".

Our original plan did not work out in terms of comms and updates from Base Camp. So here is the back up plan: post your comments below. If you simply want to wish Scott "good luck, best wishes, etc." post that and I will do a head count. If, however, you have something a bit more expansive to say - please post it. Please try and make it simple so that I can condense it down to something I can efficiently convey to Scott and that he can keep in his oxygen-starved brain.

Scott will be the first human to both fly in space and summit the highest peak on our planet. What does this mean in terms of personal determination and endurance? In terms of exploration and pushing frontiers? As a preview of things to come - and of risks to be taken - on other worlds?

We won't see a similar combination and alignment of first accomplishments again until someone summits the highest lunar peak - or Olympus Mons on Mars.

Send your thoughts to the summit of Mt. Everest. Give Scott something to think about. Be a part of this unique climb.

15 May 2008: Latest images from Scott Parazynski at Everest Base Camp

Image below: Scott Parazynski climbing up the Khumbu Icefall, part of the South Col route up the Nepali side of Mt. Everest.

Image below: Looking up at the Khumbu Icefall from Everest Base Camp. There are constant avalanches and loud ice movements during the day - some of which can be rather noisy and leave a light coating of snow across Base Camp.

Image below: Scott Parazynski climbing up the Khumbu Icefall.

Image below: Scott Parazynski climbing up the Khumbu Icefall.

Image below: Scott Parazynski using a fixed laddder to cross a constantly shifting crevasse on the Khumbu Icefall. These ladders are put in place by expert Sherpa "Ice Doctors" and are constantly readjusted as the ice underneath shifts.

Image below: Scott Parazynski using a fixed laddder to climb over large ice chuncks or "seracs" that comprise the Khumbu Icefall.

Image bleow: Oxygen cyclinders prepositioned for carrying up the mountain for use by summit teams.

Image below: Scott Parazynski using a fixed ladder to cross a constantly shifting crevasse on the Khumbu Icefall.

Further updates at Everest On Orbit

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