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By Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency

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I recommend you go outside on a clear night, away from the frequently blinding lights of the city. Take a look at the stars 32 and let your mind wander! The questions will come back. Philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “Nothing fills me with more, ever increasing awe than the stars above me and the moral law within me”*. After all, we are born from stardust. The elements constituting our bodies did not exist when our Universe was created some ten billion years ago. According to our current understanding of the Universe everything heavier than hydrogen or helium was created inside the stars and released into the Universe in countless violent explosions, thus generating the prerequisites for life and, eventually, us human beings on planet Earth.

From August 2001, Gerhard Thiele served as Head of the ESA Astronauts and Operations Unit at EAC in Cologne. In addition, he was acting Head of the Astronauts Division from August 2002 until April 2003. In January 2003, Thiele was assigned as backup of André Kuipers for the Soyuz 8S mission scheduled for April 2004. He started training at Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (Star City) in May 2003. 33 BR-221_EuroAstro 9/10/04 1:46 PM Page 34 Space Exploration: For the Benefit of Future Roberto Vittori Member of the European Astronaut Corps ESA / EAC, Cologne, Germany Our planet has limited resources.

Air Force at Reese Air Force Base in Texas, US, in 1990. S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1995. , New Mexico, US) between 1996 and 1997. ” Explore for ourselves, for our children and for the benefit of generations to come. Born 15 October 1964 in Viterbo, Italy. Spaceflight experience From 25 April to 5 May 2002, Roberto Vittori participated in a taxi flight to the International Space Station, under an agreement between the Russian Space Agency Rosaviakosmos, the Italian Space Agency ASI and ESA. One main goal of this mission was the successful delivery of a new “lifeboat” to the Station for use by the resident crew in the event of an emergency.

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A case for humans in space : the European astronauts by Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency


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