At some point during his studies at Florida Atlantic University, astronaut Steve Swanson started thinking about his future. Perhaps it could involve space travel.
Eventually, Swanson did become an engineer for NASA. He took two shuttle missions to the International Space Station between 2007 and 2009. His last trip began in March of this year, when he took a Russian rocket back to the ISS for a six-month tour.
While up there, Swanson decided to snap a selfie (the photo above) and post it to the new ISS Instagram account. It turned out to be the first-ever Instagram photo from space.
After six months in space, it took some getting used to things -- like gravity. Hear clips of Swanson, now an avid user of social media, talk about life back on Earth and whether humans could go to Mars anytime soon.
Space has always been a favorite setting for Hollywood. From "Star Trek" to "Star Wars" and movies like "Gravity" and "Interstellar," the entertainment industry may be helping to keep the allure of deep space travel alive.
Movies and recent space projects are helping to keep that allure. But, since the end of the shuttle program, Swanson says the U.S. is falling behind other countries when it comes to space technology.
President George W. Bush talked about getting humans to Mars. But is that realistic within the next 30 or 40 years? Swanson hopes so.
Swanson doesn't expect to return to the International Space Station anytime soon, though he would like to. On Sunday, November 23rd, three astronauts returned to the ISS for the next mission. They include Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, US astronaut Terry Virts and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
Though if he did return and take command of the station, he will likely get another shout out from the former Captain of the Starship Enterprise.
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2014