ESA astronaut working on the International Space Station’s electromagnetic levitator in the European Columbus laboratory while wearing the experimental Skinsuit.
The electromagetic levitator can heat metals up to 2100°C and then cool them rapidly. For scientists observing liquid metals cooling in weightlessness removes unnecessary complexity to reveal the core processes of physics. The electromagnetic levitator takes things a step further and suspends the metals in mid-air as they melt and solidify. Here Thomas is replacing cartridges of samples for more experiments.
Thomas is wearing Skinsuit – astronauts have been known to grow by up to 7 cm as their spines lengthen in weightlessness. As a result, many suffer from backache during their missions. ESA supported the development of Skinsuit to combat the lack of gravity effects by squeezing the body from the shoulders to the feet with a similar force to that felt on Earth. Each Skinsuit is tailor-made for its wearer with a bidirectional weave. The suits need to fit tightly but comfortable, while creating the right amount of force in the right places.
Thomas is spending six months on the International Space Station as part of his Proxima mission. During Proxima, Thomas will perform around 50 scientific experiments for ESA and France’s space agency CNES as well as take part in many research activities for the other Station partners. The mission is part of ESA’s vision to use Earth-orbiting spacecraft as a place to live and work for the benefit of European society while using the experience to prepare for future voyages of exploration further into the Solar System.
Connect with Thomas Pesquet: http://thomaspesquet.esa.int