Science & Technology

100 Days of Space Science for ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet takes a selfie throughout his Alpha mission on the European-made Cupola, a dome-like construction with a panoramic window that’s used as a management room for astronauts working Worldwide Space Station gear. Credit score: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

“I’m discovering it magical each day, however there may be additionally lots of routine,” says ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet reflecting on his first 100 days aboard the Worldwide Space Station throughout his second mission. In whole, Thomas has logged 296 days in area.

A snap of ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet in the course of the second spacewalk to improve the Worldwide Space Station’s energy system, taken by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough. The duo carried out the second additional vehicular exercise to bolt in place and unfurl an IROSA, or ISS Roll-Out Photo voltaic Array, on Sunday, June 20. Credit score: ESA/NASA

The magic has had completely different types: his first ride on a SpaceX Dragon capsule, greater than 20 hours in outer area over three spacewalks, the ever-changing sight of Earth and the camaraderie together with his crewmates – together with the very first Olympic Video games in area.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and his crew mates held the very first area Olympics because the Olympic Video games began in Tokyo. For crew cohesion and enjoyable, they put collectively a pleasant competitors between the Soyuz crew and the Dragon crew. Credit score: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

Simply over three months into his Alpha mission, Thomas has seen seven spacecraft come and go, the 20-year outdated Pirs module leaving for good and the arrival of Nauka with a really particular passenger, the European Robotic Arm.

The Pirs docking compartment left the Space Station after 20 years of service and burned up safely within the ambiance above the Pacific Ocean on Monday. Its departure made room for the brand new science module Nauka and the European Robotic Arm. Credit score: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

Routine comes all the way down to science – repetition is an element of any analysis, and area is not any exception. Greater than midway by means of the mission, Thomas has supported quite a few European and worldwide experiments in microgravity. 

Since Thomas is sort of busy, we requested the scientists supporting the mission on the bottom to assist us decide up a couple of experiments from the over 200 investigations which are on his schedule, with 40 European ones. That is what they selected.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet driving Canadarm2 in the course of the first spacewalk of his Alpha mission on June 16, 2021. Credit score: NASA–S. Kimbrough

Thomas’ first large-scale European experiment in area was a well-recognized one: he arrange the Grip and Grasp gear again in 2017. 4 years on he’s operating the experiments himself by carrying a digital actuality headset and greedy objects whereas movement trackers file his arm motion and pace. 

Grip and Grasp are two neuroscience experiments wanting into how our mind takes microgravity into consideration when grabbing or manipulating an object. The research assist establish the workings of the vestibular system that retains our stability.

Astronauts expertise muscle weakening in area. The Myotones experiment screens the muscle tone, stiffness and elasticity of the astronauts’ muscular tissues with a non-invasive, moveable machine on the Space Station. 

Thomas accomplished the primary two science classes along with NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur. A complete of 12 astronauts shall be participating in it to establish the perfect countermeasures and bettering the lives of many individuals affected by strained muscular tissues.

The Foam-Coarsening experiment ran a brand new batch of cartridges within the Fluid Sciences Laboratory of the European Columbus module. Credit score: NASA

Observing foams on Earth is hard as a result of the combination of fuel and liquid shortly begins to vary. Gravity pulls the liquid between the bubbles downwards and the froth begins to break down again to a liquid state. 

However in area foams are extra steady as a result of the liquid doesn’t drain in weightlessness. The Foam-Coarsening experiment research foams in depth for higher purposes on Earth, equivalent to bettering meals manufacturing, lightweight buildings for plane or radiology gear in hospitals.

The Ultrasonic Tweezers experiment goals to check the precept of transferring objects with none bodily interplay. Credit score: CNES

Thomas performed an experiment final week manipulating objects utilizing acoustics. The Ultrasonic Tweezers experiment goals to check the precept of transferring objects with none bodily interplay.

Acoustic tweezers may very well be used to take away kidney stones or ship focused medication. 

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur run classes on the Pilote experiment proposed by France’s area company CNES within the European Columbus module of the Worldwide Space Station. Credit score: ESA/NASA

Thomas and Megan are operating classes of the Pilote experiment within the European Columbus laboratory proposed by France’s area company CNES. They must just about information a drone by means of an impediment course and grapple a spacecraft with a robotic arm. 

The outcomes from Pilote will assist enhance the astronauts’ robotic abilities not solely on the Space Station, but in addition for working rovers on the floor of the Moon and Mars.

Most of these experiments are intently adopted from the bottom by the Consumer Assist and Operations Centres throughout Europe. Groups behind the scenes help the astronauts in real-time in case of anomalies and monitor the progress of the experiments. 

Collectively, they work for Thomas’ mission success.

The Centre d’Aide au Développement des activités en Micro-pesanteur et des Opérations Spatiales (CADMOS) is the human spaceflight division of the French Space Company (CNES) and one of the Consumer Assist Operation Centres distributed throughout Europe. These centres assist European actions and experiments on board the Worldwide Space Station. Credit score: ESA/CADMOS-F.Derache

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to the Worldwide Space Station on April 24, 2021, taking a brand new experience to area, the SpaceX Crew Dragon launching from Florida. The journey took 23 hours and Thomas took a sequence of photographs from the capsule and shared them on his social media channels. Commenting on this picture, he stated: “Admiring the view, however if you launch from Cape Canaveral, you mustn’t neglect the sunscreen… I didn’t have this drawback in Baikonur!” Credit score: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

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