Luca encouraged students to focus on fitness and healthy eating throughout the 2013 Mission-X: Train Like an Astronaut international challenge. Some 15 000 primary school children from all over the world embarked on a fitness competition inspired by astronaut training.
Schoolchildren aged 8–12 tackled physical and mental activities in a six-week programme. In its third year, Mission-X boasted three times more participants than the first time around.
Luca motivated future space explorers to compete against teams from over 20 countries, earning points by following exercises during their school lessons. These points are converted into steps that virtually take mascot Astro Charlie to the Moon, 478 million steps from Earth.
The Mission-X challenge features training modules and healthy activities inspired by those used by astronauts during their spaceflights. Participants also practise scientific reasoning and teamwork.
Training modules such as ‘Climb a martian mountain’ and ‘Do a spacewalk’ are among the hands-on tasks, targeting strength, endurance, coordination, balance and spatial awareness.
Luca offered tips for leading a fit and healthy lifestyle. In the summer, the European astronaut answered questions from Mission-X participants around the world.