NASA astronaut Colonel Shane Kimbrough recalls how when he looked down at earth from space he was awestruck by the peaceful vista before him.
Col Kimbrough, who visited the Springfield campus of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to talk about his experiences, spent almost 16 days in space in 2008, including 13 hours outside of a space station in two space walks.
Peace may be elusive on the planet itself, but the view from space is a different story.
"One of the things you can't plan for is the view you get out the window (of the space station). That is probably my favourite pastime," Col Kimbrough says.
"We don't get a lot of extra time, but when we get a few extra minutes you always find my head stuck in a window looking back at earth. What stands out is that it looks so peaceful. We are all so busy down here and there are wars going on ... and it is not peaceful at all. But, wow, if we could get there one day. Because that is the way it looks from space - so serene and peaceful."
Col Kimbrough said the moon landing in 1969 was the catalyst for him wanting to be an astronaut. He referred to the late Neil Armstrong as "a true hero" and one of the inspirations for his own career.
"I was four or five watching astronauts walk on the moon, and that is what got me started," he said.
He described spacewalking as "an incredible experience" where you "have your own air, your own communications and your own water to drink".
"You go outside for six to eight hours at a time. Nothing is easy, so you are really concentrating hard on what your task is for the day.
"The stakes are high when you are out there because it is a very dangerous environment."
If you have ever wondered what it is like blasting off in the space shuttle into space then Col Kimbrough can shed some light on the experience.
"You are sitting on your back on the launch pad for several hours getting ready to go and your back is starting to hurt because you are not feeling comfortable after sitting there for so long," he grinned.
"You launch, the rocket boosters light and you are going somewhere really fast. You get sucked back in your seat, you are shaking around pretty good and you are off and going. You feel the acceleration building and you keep going up and up.
"After about two and a half minutes the big rocket boosters fall off...then it gets really smooth. It is all acceleration and you feel it going right through your chest.
"I was laughing the whole way up. It was the most incredible ride I've ever had. Eight and a half minutes after launch and you are in space. Then you unbuckle, you are floating around and it absolutely amazing."
*Astronauts work out in a gym for two hours a day in the space station.
*They have e-mail access in space
*Space debris is a constant threat.