Space emission. Shooting star, aurora borealis, constellation … Thomas Pesquet describes to children the view from the ISS

Ice comets entering the atmosphere near Earth. (Illustration) (GETTY IMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

He got into the habit of posting snapshots taken from space: this week in theSpace emission, Thomas Pesquet recounts what he sees from his observation post on the International Space Station.

“Have you ever seen a shooting star in space?”, Adèle, 11, asks first. “What’s great, I saw a shooting star, but my friends were in it”, replies Thomas Pesquet. He explains to the schoolgirl that it was in fact a Crew Dragon capsule entering the atmosphere. Shooting Stars, “We see them rather from above, we see meteorites, small pebbles that enter the atmosphere with a lot of speed, and the friction makes them burn. We see that from the ISS and it’s quite pretty.”

Sunrise over the planet Earth.  (Drawing)
Sunrise over the planet Earth. (Illustration) (GETTY IMAGE / LOOPS7)

“Is it always dark in space”, 10-year-old Luna in turn asks. “It depends”, replies Thomas Pesquet. A question that takes us to take a look through the ISS porthole window. “The bottom of the space that we see is always very dark but we are not in the dark. We are still lit by the sun most of the time except when we are in the shade. of the earth.”

Aurora borealis in Iceland.  (Drawing)
Aurora borealis in Iceland. (Illustration) (MBK / GETTY IMAGES)

Mathieu, 11, wonders if Thomas Pesquet has ever seen “constellations never seen on Earth”. This is an opportunity to remember that the ISS is not so far from our planet, it is located nearly 400 km away, which offers an almost similar celestial view! “What I have seen a lot are constellations in the southern hemisphere”, a little different from those in the northern hemisphere.

From the top of his 10 years, Gaëllys has a big question for the astronaut who lives in space: “What would you do if you ran into aliens?” Thomas Pesquet answers him in detail: “I think we would already try to communicate and find a way to understand each other” and then “stay on good terms”.

The last question comes back to Issa, 10: the CM2 student asks Thomas Pesquet if he has ever seen the Northern Lights and if it is impressive. “I saw a few“, answers the astronaut. And to explain that from the ISS, the view is a little different: “We float above and sometimes even in it.” The opportunity to see the whole palette of its colors, “like a carpet of green which undulates and which is phosphorescent in the night, it is absolutely magnificent.”

On this page, you can listen to this fourth episode of The Space Show in full, where astronaut Thomas Pesquet answers children’s questions about life aboard the ISS. A meeting to listen to every Saturday at 10:44 am and 12:51 pm on France Info radio and to find in podcast.

To have a class (elementary and middle school) participate in a recording of Space emission, within the limit of available places, contact the services of the Mediator of Radio France.

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