By Chris Lintott
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