There are unforgettable moments in every person’s life. We each have our own. One of these moments in the life of an astronaut must unquestionably be seeing Earth for the first time from outside it, from above it in weightless space, floating in a spaceship and seeing the curved horizon and sun over a black background in front of them. This is one experience that astronaut Pedro Duque has under his belt, that first time, a key moment in his career. And he recounted and shared it in the Horizons lectures organised by Obra Social “la Caixa” in conjunction the Association of “la Caixa” Fellows.
“Meeting so many interesting people and travelling to so many different countries changes you. Space exploration has thoroughly changed us; the mindset of everyone living here changed with the first photograph of the Earth taken by the astronauts who were travelling to the Moon”, says the astronaut in this interview with ALMA. Not only did it change them; it also changed everyone who reads, sees and tracks these ventures into space. Since then our ecological awareness has been heightened and technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. Furthermore, investments in aerospace projects are profitable since the technologies develop end up benefiting society and other sectors, which makes them more competitive and creates more jobs.
But if we dig a bit further, these advances also have a direct effect in terms of equality.
“When technologies improve, more people have access to them”, asserts Duque. The aerospace industry has contributed to the development of recycling and clean energy technologies. The advances needed to travel into space also have their place here on Earth.
So what about science fiction? Will it come true? What is expected in the near future? Will life be discovered on other plants? This also depends on technological advances and the investments earmarked to them. Exploring is always necessary, seeing what’s out there and answer questions like where we come from or whether there is life elsewhere in the universe. Exploring is part and parcel of being human.
With referents like Gagarin, Armstrong, Glenn and Leonov, Duque impatiently awaits his next trip since the last one he took 15 years ago.
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