Eric Clapton knows the feeling when he gets his guitar out. And so does Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp. But it’s not often that an individual can appear at a venue and know everyone present actually wants to swap places with them.
But if Andreas Mogensen, Denmark’s answer to Buzz Lightyear, didn’t know it before he turned up at Copenhagen International School last week on Friday, he knows it now; everyone in the third grade wants to be an astronaut!
Coating in a most peculiar way (and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear)
Soya sauce in space!
Mogensen, who in September 2015 is expected to become Denmark’s first ever person in space, was the guest of honour at his alma mater, where he gave a first-hand account of his training and the life science studies he will conduct at an altitude of 330 km above Earth’s crust.
Next autumn, Mogensen will be launched on a Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for his ten-day mission at the International Space Station (ISS).
As the flight engineer in the ‘left seat’ of Soyuz, he will be second-in-command of the vehicle, but on this day he was the superior officer and charged with answering questions like “Why are you taking soya sauce to space?”
There’s a starman waiting in the drive
Alien haute couture
The students arrived in their finest interpretations of alien haute couture, expertly crafted out of bin bags and tin foil.
The excitement was palpable as they took their places in the darkened, cocoon-like auditorium, where they were joined by Paxi, an Earth-loving alien who is the ESA Education’s official mascot.
He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds
Learning, no doubt yearning
First there was a presentation on Mission X: ‘Train like an Astronaut’, an international educational challenge encouraging children to focus on fitness and nutrition.
And then Mogensen took to the stage to present clips of reboost manoeuvres by his colleagues on the ISS to maintain altitude, images of the new ‘skinsuit’ he will assess the effectiveness of, and his experience of weightlessness on reduced gravity parabolic flights – in short, bucketloads of wow factor.
Let all the children boogie
When he returns to Earth
The Q&A session was uninhibited and honest – it ran the gamut from “Are you scared?” to “How do you go to the toilet in space?’’ The children presented their space-themed drawings for Mogensen to autograph.
Meanwhile, CIS can look forward to his return with the polo shirt he has promised to take into space.