Donald R. Pettit, Ph.D, is an active NASA astronaut, photographer, inventor and scientist who has had the extraordinary experience of spending 370 days aboard the International Space Station, including 13 hours of space-walking, and was Mission Specialist 1 on STS-126 space shuttle mission.
Aside from creating some of the most unique and stunning photographs ever made in space, during Expedition 6, Pettit used spare parts found throughout the Station to create a barn-door tracker. This was a unique device that compensated for the movement of the International Space Station relative to the Earth’s surface, allowing for sharper photographs of city lights at night while orbiting in the space station. Pettit also invented a zero-gravity cup made from nothing more than a clear plastic report cover and some fancy NASA tape. The cup and his explanation of the science behind it – internal cup angle to the contact wetting angle for the “non-wetting” plastic – was featured in National Geographic.