Questions to an astronaut

What would you ask an astronaut if you had the chance? Young kids already know: “do you miss your mom?”, “are there arguments among astronauts?” and “are you going to celebrate your birthday with cake, candles and presents?”. That’s how 60 young Swiss will talk to Thomas Pesquet, the French astronaut currently on-board the International Space Station for a 6-month mission.

This very special phone call will connect the ISS with around 60 students and teachers from two Swiss states (Sion and Vaud): it is offered by the ARISS program and organised by the Swiss Space Center at EPFL where I work.

Beside letting their voices be heard in space, kids will also learn about space in a few fun activities, such as: represent lunar phases with Oreo biscuits, reproduce the proportions of the Solar System by means of a toilet-paper meter and decide their menu for their trip to Mars.


The questions I reported in the opening are my favorite ones because of their innocence but there are many more curiosities the kids would like to know: I report them in the following with their author and the word “Over” that kids will have to remember to pronounce in order to hand over the communication to Thomas.

1 Léane: What time is it right now on the ISS? Over
2 Aasha: Will you celebrate your birthday with candles, cake and gifts? Over
3 Timea: Could you please describe us what you can see apart the Earth and the Sun? Over
4 Valentina: What are the funniest things you can do without gravity? Over
5 Ilhan: What do you do in your spare time? Over
6 Naya: What is the type of food that you don’t enjoy eating in space? Over
7 Elina: What were your favorite school subjects? Over
8 Ermin Do you miss your mum? Over
9 Selma: Have you been able to observe the effects of pollution on our planet? Over
10 Aya: Have you ever experienced frightening noises on both the Soyuz and the ISS? Over

11 Dana: What was your motivation to go to space? Over
12 Lauryne: Among how many candidates were you chosen and why? Over
13 Vincent: During your training, what was the most difficult task to accomplish? Over
14 Pauline: What experiments are you conducting? Over
15 Nathan: What effects does weightlessness have on your body? Over
16 Robin: Does sleeping feel different on the ISS? Over
17 Alice: What do you do if there’s a medical emergency onboard? Over
18 Nathan: Are there arguments among astronauts? Over
19 Noa: What do you miss the most of life on Earth? Over
20 Johan: What do you fear the most about your stay in space? Over

21 Leandra: Does time have the same duration on the ISS as it has on Earth? Over
22 Tarik: What is your favourite book? Over
23 Esrom: How do your colleagues and you do to have enough food and drink?  Over
24 Hayden: What is the purpose of the big rod on the top of the space rocket?  Over
25 Nolhan: From the ISS, can you see if there are still many glaciers and much snow left on the Alps? Over

And you, what would you ask? Over

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