COM­MENT

By Chris Lin­tott

Sky at Night Magazine - - BULLETIN -

Tim Peake’s first few weeks on the ISS will prob­a­bly be re­mem­bered for his or­bit­ing teapot rather than for any sci­ence that got done. This is be­com­ing a theme: Tim’s tea will fea­ture in a TV pro­gram next year, while his ESA as­tro­naut pre­de­ces­sor, the Ital­ian Sa­man­tha Cristo­fore­tti, made use of an espresso ma­chine.

We’ve also heard about Tim’s ad­ven­tures with get­ting his par­ent’s an­swer­phone and di­alling a wrong num­ber, and watched him at­tempt the com­pul­sory som­er­sault. It’s tempt­ing to dis­miss th­ese as stunts or grabs for at­ten­tion, but that misses the point.

Ma­jor Tim’s mis­sion isn’t just about sci­ence. It’s about in­spir­ing those of us stuck down here on Earth to think about what’s hap­pen­ing above our heads. Look­ing at the faces of the chil­dren gath­ered in the Sci­ence Mu­seum in Lon­don to watch the launch con­firms that in this im­por­tant mis­sion, Bri­tain’s first ESA as­tro­naut is off to a good start.

CHRIS LIN­TOTT co­p­re­sents The Sky at Night

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