Pie in the sky, literally.
Peggy Whitson was the first female commander of the International Space Station. In October 2002, she was living on the Station. And during STS-112, the shuttle mission that sent astronauts to help build out the Station's infrastructure, her husband took part in a time-honored tradition: he sent her a care package.
One of his gifts? A pie.
In a talk about Station life at the Aspen Ideas Festival yesterday, astronaut Jeffrey Ashby told the pie-in-the-sky story. Traditional gifts that shuttles delivered to Station-bound astronauts tended to be things like books and movies and DVDs, he said -- things to help astronauts living on the Station keep connected to the people and cultures back on Earth.
In Whitson's case, though, the gift was a pecan pie -- a gesture from her husband. "I don't know how he got it past the food people," Ashby said.