Astronaut says space travel is a ‘necessary evil’ to save the world

After spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) last year, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet warned of the effects of climate change visible even from space. He believes that investment in space research can have a beneficial effect, even if it somehow contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases.

He, who previously traveled to space in 2016, said the consequences of human activity became even more apparent during this latest visit. From his vantage point on the planet, the astronaut has seen glaciers retreat and extreme weather events increase.

In addition to being an astronaut, Pesquet is also a goodwill ambassador for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). For example, on board the ISS he supported FAO’s research into agricultural innovation and food production methods.

According to Pesquet, “when you look at Earth from the space station, it’s absolutely magical”. He emphasizes that despite the proximity of the planet, the sense of monstrosity normally felt on earth is muted. “When you step back and see the Earth in its entirety, you suddenly realize that we live in an oasis in the cosmos. He assured that this vision and awareness made him want to value the Earth and protect it.

According to the astronaut, the effects of climate change are becoming more intense from year to year. “My first mission was 2016-2017, and my second mission was five years later, in 2021. I could see a clear increase in the frequency and strength of extreme weather events like hurricanes, like wildfires”, he declared.

There is hope for planet earth

Fortunately, Pesquet sees a door at the end of the tunnel, including space exploration as a way to help the planet, after all “we have satellites that can observe the Earth and measure variables such as wave height, sea temperature, ice in the receding polar caps” .

In addition, he said that there are several experiments going on that aim to protect the Earth. Among the examples cited by the astronaut is the behavior of fluids in orbit. This research aims to understand how the movement of magma and lava within the planet, and the movement of waves in the ocean, can help predict some of the most extreme weather events that affect our environment.

The need to limit resources such as water, food and even oxygen aboard the International Space Station brought other perspectives to Pesquet. He believes that a similar technique could be used on Earth. “I think people on Earth can learn a lot about how space technology treats water, how we recycle water, how we recycle oxygen in the air,” FAO/UN said.

Space exploration is not environmentally friendly

Thomas Pesquet acknowledges that space travel also produces greenhouse gases, but for him travel is a “necessary evil”. But the French believe that the negative and positive effects must be weighed and considered in their proper proportions. “There are so few rocket launches that compared to aviation, automobiles or other industries, our impact is negligible,” he said.

Looking to the future, the astronaut says he is optimistic because “we are quite creative, we have the technology and we have the will. If we can fly a space station, then we can save the planet.

Via: CNN World

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