"It would be foolish to assume that we are alone: I have no doubt that there is extraterrestrial life out there"

astronaut Mike Massimino (New York, 1962) recalls the exact moment that he decided that he wanted to travel into space. It was 21 July 1969 and, like millions o

astronaut Mike Massimino (New York, 1962) recalls the exact moment that he decided that he wanted to travel into space. It was 21 July 1969 and, like millions of people around the world, he was before your tv, seeing the images grainy, that showed how Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the lunar surface.

"I Was barely six years, but in the moment that Armstrong stepped on the moon, I knew that I wanted to travel the stars," says Massimino. "In my family we are dedicated to public service -my father was a firefighter in New York-and for me to be an astronaut meant to carry out a public service on behalf of the whole world".

in order to fulfill his dream, Massimino devoted endless hours to study and to train his physical, but the road to the stars was paved with obstacles. NASA rejected his nomination on three occasions and the last one was banned for being short-sighted, but the negative just served to intensify his determination to achieve his goal, and with infinite patience managed to "retrain" your eyes to overcome their natural limitations. At 33 years of age, at the fourth attempt, he was admitted to the aerospace program; in 2002, he was part of the team for the penultimate mission of the space shuttle Columbia, and in 2009 she participated in the scientific mission of the Atlantis.

From Lisbon, where he travelled to participate in the Web Summit, Massimino chat with this newspaper about his life among the stars, the Space Force announced by Donald Trump, and the leap of the astronauts into the world of politics.

Mike Massimino. THE WORLD What was what impressed him most during the 531 hours spent in the space? Space walks in which he saw the earth in all its splendour. To see the planet as well is incredible, and the first thing he notes is that there are gaps in your knowledge of geographic... We have applications to identify what we flew over, peninsulas, islands, and lakes. Get stunned with the richness of the colors of the earth and, by night, the concentrations of electric light that show where people live. In 2009 he became the first person to tweet from space. Where did the idea come from?The inspiration came from Barack Obama, who tweeted his inauguration earlier that year. I had thought to keep a blog, but when you're in space you really have little free time and that's why tweeting was much more comfortable for me. I loved being able to talk to people directly, and that's why today I'm keeping myself active in social networks. Has become famous for his recurring role on Big Bang Theory, series in of himself. Did you have any doubt in acting in a tv series comedy?The truth is that I didn't even know that there was a series until one day I was called from the NASA -that has a department exclusively dedicated to deal with Hollywood-and, initially, I thought I were talking about the scientific theory, not a television program. The case is that I signed to be a technical adviser of the series, and at the end it flowed so well that at the end they proposed to act in the series. I am delighted; it is a fun program and I believe that everything that serves to make known the space program is good. A few days ago, the space telescope Kepler was retired from active service to running out of fuel. What is involved in your loss? Is not very serious, since his release comes inside of anything. However, the Kepler was a modern marvel that has helped us to identify potentially habitable planets, sites in what might be life. Are you convinced that there is extraterrestrial life? Statistically, it would be foolish to assume that we are alone; without a doubt, there is extraterrestrial life out there, although maybe not to enjoy a planet as beautiful as ours. I am optimistic: we are going out there without the intention of winning and I hope that if we find extraterrestrial life, be with that dynamic. How do you assess the current state of the space program american?There is a growing interest in public-private partnerships, and I think that opens a door to good options that can revolutionize the way in which we interact with the space. What do you think of the Space Force that Donald Trump intends to create?I think the idea is to ensure the space around the planet for the satellites, it's not a thing of The War of the Galaxies. The Air Force already makes a follow-up and control of the rubble space, and if it is for that purpose, it is not a bad idea. As a civilian, I think that it is important to avoid militarizing space. NASA focuses on exploration and science. It is good to have security, but the key has to be in work together. In Spain, the former astronaut Pedro Duque was recently appointed Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities. What do you think of the astronauts and scientists that move into the political sphere?If you are willing to enter that world, it seems to me magnificent. In the united States we already have a precedent in this regard: the astronaut John Glenn was a senator and did a good job for a few years representing the state of Ohio. Most of the professional politicians who know nothing of the subjects treated, and frankly, I think that it is better to have people with good technical training, they understand the issues on which it seeks to legislate.

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Date Of Update: 04 January 2019, 20:00

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