It has been almost moving to see Samantha Cristoforetti’s smile this Sunday, while watching the online streaming of her flight to the ISS (International Space Station). Samantha is not just one of the happy few in history who have been able to literally walk in space, fulfilling the dream of many: she is also the first Italian woman in space.
34 years old, Sam was born in a small town in Trentino; after studying in Milan and then in Switzerland, she has managed to become a military pilot, Air Force captain and engineer. On the ISS, she will contribute to the performance of all tasks of research, testing and operational maintenance of the space laboratory. The only thing that she brought with her as a souvenir from Planet Earth is the little doll Olaf. Samantha and the other three pilots (a Russian and an American) will remain in space for six months, enduring all the discomfort of a zero G environment and breathing recycled air.
This mission is particularly important and curious in many ways: first of all the name of the mission (which has also been used as an hashtag on Twitter), Futura 42, is a clear reference to the sci-fi classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, in which the number 42 was believed to be the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. The emphasis given to this mission on the social media is not just a sign of the times, since Samantha is a Twitter addicted herself: among other things, she constantly updates her blog and she shared her playlist on Spotify, all focused on the theme of flying. The selection contains a lot of interesting tracks, including works from two artists that we at Kappa Language School love very much: Edoardo Bennato and Ivano Fossati.
But Sam is far from being the only Italian involved in this mission. Ten researches conducted or financed by Italians will be undertaken on the ISS, from the study on multiple sclerosis to the perfection of sensors deviced to measure heart rhythm and breathing cycle during the sleep.
Fun fact: Sam will also be the first to prepare a real espresso in space: among all the experiments planned for this mission, she will have to test a special coffee machine, produced by Lavazza and Argoten. Considering that the two Russians packed their luggage with nearly a pound of caviar, the ISS seems ready for a full luxury dinner… among the stars.