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5 inquiries to astronaut Thomas Pesquet, passing by Corsica

From the Worldwide House Station to Corsica. Thomas Pesquet is passing by Bastia, this Saturday, September 17, as a part of the inauguration of the “Discover Mars” exhibition, at A Casa di e Scenze. The chance to element the ambitions of the house conquest.

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He’s the tenth Frenchman to have gone into house, and essentially the most skilled European astronaut, with almost 400 days in house to his credit score… Since his first mission aboard the Worldwide House Station (ISS ) in 2016, the recognition score of Thomas Pesquet, acknowledged astronaut and excellent communicator, continues to climb.

Again on earth since November 2021, he signifies that he goals to go “in as many territories as attainable“to trade and meet”with everybody” that he was capable of see from the ISS. And this Saturday, September 17, it was in Bastia that Thomas Pesquet put down his suitcases.

An specific however no much less distinctive go to, welcomed the municipality, with the inauguration, within the morning, of the “Discover Mars” exhibition, at A Casa di e scenze, in Lupinu, earlier than the holding of a giant sold-out convention on the municipal theatre. The astronaut agreed to reply questions from journalists, particularly regarding the ambitions of the house conquest.

Have you ever seen a resurgence within the curiosity of scientists and most of the people within the conquest of house?

Thomas Pésquet: I believe it by no means actually stopped. We first had the missions for the Moon, me, I used to be not born, I didn’t know them. Then, we constructed an area station, which isn’t any imply feat: having individuals who have lived in house for greater than 20 years, having tamed this house near the Earth…

Now that we have achieved that, now that we all know how to do this, I am not saying there’s nothing extra to do, there’s nonetheless a whole lot of analysis forward of us in low orbit, however it is time to ‘go somewhat additional, and this time, to do it somewhat extra sustainably.

What we wish to do is return to the Moon, however to have a habitation base there like we will have in Antarctica, a analysis base, and use the assets in situ. We all know that there’s water within the type of ice, so it is going to clearly serve us for human life, however it may well additionally make us rocket gasoline, with hydrogen and oxygen… It there are numerous issues to do on the Moon.

We wish to return there in worldwide cooperation, not simply to plant a flag, however to remain there. I believe persons are on this, and I believe there have by no means been so many nations, whether or not it is China, India, Russia, Europe, the US, Canada, or Japan, who’ve an curiosity within the conquest of house, who’re embarking on it. That is additionally the case for personal firms now: the public-private partnership is necessary, works very, very effectively within the house sector, and we’re going to attempt to proceed that.

Exactly, NASA’s Artemis program plans to ship astronauts again to set foot on the Moon within the subsequent few years. Is that this one in every of your targets?

That might be nice sure! However I am not going to be the one candidate, that is for positive. We’ve this program that is going to the moon, with a rocket that is on the launch pad, the subsequent launch alternative is the twenty seventh. So we’ll attempt to launch it, after which, as soon as it really works, we should wait two years for the primary manned flight.

On the primary 4, 5 flights, we’re speaking about three Europeans who might have a job to play. Three is fortunate for me. Properly, in fact, all my colleagues are additionally volunteers… That is the sport inside the European House Company. However what is sweet is that as humanity, we go there, that Europe is a part of this, and that France inside Europe has its position to play.

The exhibition “Discover Mars” [conçue par la cité de l’Espace, ouverte jusqu’en juin 2023 à A Casa di e scenze] presents an immersive and interactive journey to higher familiarize your self with the pink planet. Robots have already taken their first steps there. How might the human presence on Mars advance house science?

Thomas Pésquet: It might assist lots. It isn’t even me who says it, however the scientists of Curiosity [astromobile, ou rover, déployée sur Mars en 2012 via la mission Mars Science Laboratory, ndlr]. They’re annoyed and instructed me: “We’re ready, we’re in a rush, we want people to be on Mars“.

As a result of with Curiosity, it is a couple of meters traveled per day, a couple of kilometers over the complete period of the mission. If we put people, it is not going to be the identical factor. For the Apollo mission [programme spatial de la NASA mené durant la période 1961-1972, qui a permis aux États-Unis d’envoyer pour la première fois des hommes sur la Lune (1969), ndlr], with their little rovers, they may do 36 kilometers a day, 400 kilometers of rock. The scientific return is essentially elevated tenfold. In fact, the issue can be multiplied, however we’re all satisfied that the scientific return that may be extracted is value it, and that’s the reason we determined to go for it.

On Mars, we will likely be ready reply basic questions: can we lose our ambiance because it occurred there, how life is created and the way it disappears… These are issues that may serve us on planet Earth. The additional we go into house, the extra we attempt to reply questions on ourselves.

At a time once we hear discuss of the top of abundance, and of a French and European economic system in problem, do you perceive the criticisms that may be made in regards to the vital funding paid for the pursuit of house exploration? [l’Esa, l’agence spatiale européenne, dispose d’un budget de 7,15 milliards d’euros en 2022, financé à hauteur de 1,178 milliard par la France, ndlr] ?

Thomas Pésquet: Sure in fact. However anyway, it’s totally clear, our massive precedence in all of the companies on the earth, what we dedicate the most important finances to, is the statement and safety of the Earth.

House exploration, going somewhat additional into house, is rather less than 10% of the finances of the European house company. We predict it’s affordable, it’s the equal of two euros per 12 months and per European citizen. We inform ourselves that with that, we nonetheless handle to do a whole lot of issues.

But when we should hold the precedence the place it must be, ie the safety of the Earth and the issues of the current, we should not mortgage the longer term both. We should due to this fact give ourselves this small finances to attempt to permit issues sooner or later that may have optimistic spinoffs.

You’re very lively on social networks, particularly throughout your missions, for instance by posting images taken from house…

Thomas Pésquet: Clearly, sharing the view from the house station is necessary. VSmaybe made individuals dream somewhat.[…] I had the prospect to take some photographs of Corsica and share them: the territories, both by the ocean or the islands, might be seen very effectively from the ISS, they’re very simple to identify and appeal to eye, of which Corsica has a privileged state of affairs on this level. The photographs have been additionally fairly widespread, so it appeared to me that the Corsicans have been fairly enthusiastic!

However what can be necessary is to share what we’re doing within the house station. And a whole lot of analysis is completed there, not simply to please us up there, however for the individuals right here. So occasionally I might take a pleasant picture, after which the subsequent time, I might clarify analysis in physiology, or analysis in fluid physics, what’s it for, how will we do… These are issues which I believe individuals have been serious about.

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