“We’ve created a destination for human beings in the most hostile place that exists: space”. This was how Samantha Cristoforettiexplained the significance of the International Space Station (ISS), where the second long-term mission by the Italian Space Agency (ISA) is heading as part of the Futura project. Cristoforetti, captain and pilot in the Italian Air Force and astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA), was speaking toIl Velino/Pei News and the Farnesina’s multimedia team
A shared goal means we can do exceptional things, says the Italian astronaut
As Cristoforetti – Italy’s first femaleastronaut –explained, the ISS is a science laboratory but also an outpost for humanity as a whole. “There are representatives of all our partners. It’s a major international project and the tangible proof that when we have a shared goal we can do exceptional things by coordinating needs, interests and working methods”. The topic thatCristoforetti will be exploring during the mission is nutrition.
“Astronauts live for 6 months in an environment that is highly stressful for both the body and the mind”, she underscored. “In space, certain imbalances that we all suffer here on earth– but over a longer timescale – set in more quickly. These imbalances form the sub-stratum on which lifestyle-related illnesses develop. Food isn’t just a source of energy and pleasure – it’s also a messenger for the cells of our bodies”. Research on this subject – for example on protein crystallisation in a weightless environment – is being conducted on the ISS.
The Italian astronaut will also be flying the “WeFly!” flag for pilots with disabilities. Her message is that “we should not impose artificial, external limits on ourselves. If you have dreams and ambitions, try to find the road to fulfil them. Sometimes an obstacle is just a message that life is sending you. You need to find another road, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your destination”.