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Luca Parmitano: “The space race, we have to do it all together”

Europe has its head in the stars this week, with multiple missions in March, and the European Space Agency (ESA) recruitment campaign, to keep the EU at the forefront in the race to conquer spatial. To talk about it, we meet this week an ESA astronaut, the Italian Luca Parmitano.

While the whole world has its eyes riveted on Mars, with the landing a few days ago of the NASA robot named “Perseverance”, Luca Parmitano assures that the European Union also intends to continue its discovery of red planet: “We have not managed to send a Rover for the moment, because it is an extremely complex program, so we have to wait until the conditions are the best possible”. According to the astronaut, ESA “has assessed that the best possibility will be next year, with ExoMars 2020”.

Luca Parmitano nevertheless recalls that the ESA has already sent a probe in 2016 “which gives information around the planet Mars”. To face the complexity that characterizes this type of program, according to him there is only one solution: “working together”. And in this area, the astronaut insists on the reputation of the European Space Agency, “world champion of cooperation”.

ESA is looking for its future astronauts

For ESA, the current challenge is also to find its future astronauts. To do this, a recruitment campaign will begin on March 31. Speaking to potential future candidates, Luca Parmitano has only one piece of advice: “try”.

The astronaut, recruited in 2009, recalls that “inclusion is an important parameter” of this new selection campaign: “It is true that we would like more women”. Finally, Luca Parmitano indicates that ESA wishes to “invite people with a disability to become an astronaut”. We will not “speak of para-astronaut” he insists because “the astronaut who will be selected will be an astronaut”.

A program prepared by Perrine Desplats, Isabelle Romero and Mathilde Bénézet.