In honor of Israeli Space Week, Belgian astronaut Frank de Wayne recounted his experiences outside the atmosphere:
Imaging of humans on Mars // Photo: National Geographic
As part of Israeli Space Week, we spoke with Belgian astronaut Frank de Veen, who was launched to the International Space Station twice - in 2002 and 2009, and spent a total of 198 days outside of Earth.
We talked to him about the feelings in zero gravity, his actions and the thoughts following the exit to outer space.
"When you leave the atmosphere and get to the space station you realize for the first time how sensitive our planet, our home planet is, how small it is and how all the controversy and all the borders between different countries are eliminated compared to the giants of space," Wayne says excitedly in our zoom call, adding: I understand how sensitive humanity really is, and how important it is to protect our planet. "
When asked what it feels like to experience zero gravity or micro-gravity, Frank explained: "It's hard to explain the experience itself, what the person feels psychologically. As you see a movie and it's not really the experience, so does everything I explain to you. But it certainly changes perspective. On things and that too is a completely different feeling of freedom. "
According to de Wayne, "In zero gravity at first there are also effects on the body, the blood flows differently and there are headaches, backaches, it takes about a week to get used to the new reality and then you discover how much the person adapts and how he manages to adapt to a different micro-gravity reality. Coincidentally, as I said, space completely changes the sense of man in relation to our world. Only in space can you really understand how marginal the struggles and things that plague humanity on a daily basis. This is the essence of my educational and scientific activity since being in space. Explain how much we all depend on each other. "Humanity depends on itself and how petty all our disputes are."
How do you explain that? Are you optimistic?
How do you explain that?
Are you optimistic?
"In my character I am an optimistic person so I am not one of those who lose hope. Beyond that humanity has progressed, it does not always seem at first glance but 200 years ago for example children were disenfranchised and worked from an early age without learning. Today in most of the world "In the same way, the status of women has changed in the last hundred years, and so has the status of human beings and equality between human beings has progressed. It is true that there are challenges, but there is progress in the long run, and that is important."
Waiting for a breakthrough
Regarding the ability of humanity to settle Mars and establish colonies in space, Frank de Wayne says that "in the next decade there will be no colonies on Mars, we may just start reaching it. We do not yet have the technology to produce such a breakthrough, but in a hundred years the world could change fundamentally. Here, I'm in Belgium and you are in Israel and we talk to each other freely, it's a situation that if they had told you about 100 years ago it would have seemed imaginary to you.
"That's why I estimate there will be breakthroughs and humanity will definitely set up research sites and maybe even settlements on Mars and the moon. One should always strive to move forward."
Throughout the conversation with him, Frank de Wayne emphasizes the importance of preserving the planet and says that "we have one very sensitive sphere, and it is very important that we all together protect the environment and it. All of humanity needs to mobilize for this project."