This year's guest was the astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who shared his experience about the six months he spent on board of the International Space Station (ISS).
This environment, it’s really out of this world, it’s really something different. It’s not like if you travel from here and you go to a completely different culture, where you eat differently, you sleep differently. The fact is that [in space] you cannot walk, you cannot drink, you cannot take a shower. You cannot do the regular things that everyone in the world does.
As a flight engineer in the MagISStra Mission, Paolo Nespoli performed scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, and educational activities in which portuguese schools participated (A Greenhouse in Space).
Nespoli shared with the Portuguese public what he learned about Earth, about life and about himself during the time he sepnt at ISS.
The first 4 – 6 weeks there is a process that happens in your body, in your brain that really forces you to change, to experiment, to re-learn the basic things. You step back and you start thinking in a different way, and you find out, ‘wow if I spin upside down in this situation, wow I can do everything!’ This is a very fulfilling sense of accomplishment, this discovery, this mastering of the situation.
The extraordinary photos of Paolo Nespoli show us oceans, continents, mountains, rivers and the lights of our cities seen from up there. It is a new perspective from ISS running through the darkness of space at 28 thousand kilometers per hour.
Paolo Nespoli came to Lisbon invited by Ciência Viva, with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), of the European Commission, of the City Council of Lisbon and of EGEAC, in the context of European Space Expo.
Entrance was free and the event had simultaneous translation to Portuguese.
Biography of Paolo Nespoli
Paolo Nespoli was born in Milan, Italy, 6 April 1957. He studied Aeronautics and Astronautics, with a master of the Polytechnic University of New York, USA. He has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering by the Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy (finished in 1990).
Paolo was selected as an astronaut of the European Space Agency in 1998 and undertook training at NASA (Houston, USA). He participated in the Mission STS-120 of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2007, with the duration of 15 days. As Expert Mission he performed human physiology and bioogy experiments for the European scientific community and participated in educational activities.
In 2010 and 2011, Paolo Nespoli was selected for the Expeditions 26 and 27 to the International Space Station. As flight engineer in the mission MagISStra, during six months he performed scientific experiments and technology demonstrations, as well as educational activities in which Portuguese schools participated.