INTERVIEW – The European Space Agency will announce major projects for the future. Thomas Pequet is at the heart of this news. The astronaut gave an interview to LCI in which he notably mentioned the Moon and extraterrestrial life.
Thomas Pesquet in a dream. In an interview with LCI, which will be broadcast on Saturday in Darius Rochebin’s 8 p.m., the astronaut specifies the schedule for the new adventure on the Moon in which he hopes to participate. He also speaks on the presence of life outside the Earth and on European projects for the conquest of space, in the company of the director of the European Space Agency, Josef Ashbacher.
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Thomas Pesquet in space
“The ideal calendar? An approach mission in 2024 and the foot on the moon in 2026 or 2027”
Asked about the precise deadlines for the new lunar adventure, Thomas Pesquet details the expected schedule: “It’s tomorrow in fact. The first unmanned mission to test our equipment around the Moon, let’s say the rocket that will take us there, is this year. (…) We have no date exactly but the launch window opens I think towards the end of March so it could be really very close. Then, two years after this mission, here we are talking about 2024, it would be a first manned mission for the moment around the moon and then we’re going to set up a small station in orbit around the moon and then go down as we go in a little more sustainable way and set up and build a base on the moon.”
It’s the absolute dream
According to Thomas Pesquet, “2026 or 2027 will be the earliest. It’s the absolute dream. (…) I speak for myself and my colleagues, I’m not the only one, with my Italian and German colleagues (…) we’re all going to lift the hand.” The French astronaut hopes to see in this moment the culmination of his journey: “If I have the chance to share this, I would have had a magnificent career.”
We need political ambition for the lunar program
Thomas Pesquet: the deadline for a trip to the Moon “will depend on the political will”
Alongside Thomas Pesquet, the director of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, pleads for a “political ambition” which implements the lunar project, invoking the memory of the first adventure accomplished by the United States in the context of the Cold War: “We remember Kennedy! He convinced the Americans to do it, not because it was easy, but because it was difficult.”
We need a strong European space
Thomas Pesquet: “Military space is not in our DNA”
At a time when France is taking over the presidency of the European Union, and in view of a summit to be held on this subject in Toulouse in February, the astronaut believes that Europe needs power in the Space. Asked also about the need for a military component, he considers: “We do not want to be dependent on someone who could cut off our GPS signal! (…) If we think of a strong, united, powerful Europe, we are talking about European diplomacy, we are talking about European defense but it is not forbidden to think that in a few years, in a few decades it will be a real subject.
Extraterrestrial presence: “We remain open to this possibility”
Thomas Pesquet talks about extraterrestrial life
Asked about the hypothesis of extraterrestrial life, even in a rudimentary form, Thomas Pesquet underlines that we discover new exoplanets every day which have pressure temperature conditions which would be favorable to the appearance of the liquid water, but liquid water is obviously a condition of life as we know it.
- Thomas Pesquet dreams of landing the Moon: why is the satellite coveted again?
On a possible presence in the Universe, which would try to make contact with the Earth, Thomas Pesquet answers: “Nobody has a crystal ball, not even us at the Space Agency, but we remain open to this possibility. For now, our priority is really the Earth, it’s really protecting it, and the progress that we bring to the earthly populations but according to the state of knowledge we do not refrain from dreaming.
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