Experienced Astronauts R. Ewald and G. Thiele Humbly Exchanging with ISU MSS18


ISU MSS18 Student René Michel reports on the Astronaut Panel and last day on campus.
« Il est venu le temps des fusées, Le monde est entré, Dans un nouveau millénaire - L'homme a voulu monter sur les étoiles, Ecrire son histoire, Sur la lune ou sur l'astéroïde. (Notre Dame de Paris)

It was the closing day of school, and our last activity, as a class, was an astronaut panel.

Ironically when people hear about a Space University, the first thing they ask us is "Are you going to become an astronaut?" The panel gave us an insight into the astronauts’ life after their space mission. Although some onboard experiences were shared by them, the most valuable words were the genuine and natural answers they gave us.
When they were asked whether it is more essential to teach science to the new generations or to spend one's life as an astronaut, Gerhard Thiele and Reinhold Ewald, agreed that they became astronauts because that was their dream, not because of the possible fame, not because they wanted to become the ambassadors of Earth, not because they consider that as something better than other professions.
As simple as that, being an astronaut is just another profession with its own risks and its own benefits. "Most of the time astronauts are focused on excelling at their primary missions, and in their spare time they do things they would do down on Earth like music, photography, etc.," they added.

In front of us, two astronauts who flew to space were standing, and they were more down to earth than many of those in the audiences. Humbly and naturally they continued "Even though I am an Astronaut I still have to go to university and teach, and do outreach. The life of an astronaut starts after the mission."

As Gerhard Thiele quoted Michelangelo Buonarroti “Il maggior pericolo per tutti noi non è che il nostro fine sia troppo elevato e non riusciamo ad arrivarci ma che sia troppo basso e lo raggiungiamo”. Over the audience one thought floated “It is a praiseworthy goal to become an astronaut, but a better one is to become an astronaut or any other professional with integrity, passion and coherence sur la lune ou sur la terre”.

Our last activity as a class summarized the whole experience at ISU. It all started with the desire to look at the sky and dream. Some of us dream of spacewalking, some of us hope to use Space Data in different ways, some of us want to develop the industry. Most of us are ready to work and face the challenge.

Pues alguien escribió que la vida es sueño, y los sueños, sueños son. »

Picture Credit: ISU - Prof. Chris Welch, MSS Program Director, Reinhold Ewald and Gerhard Thiele, answering the audience’s questions.