On Tuesday, a call from Estonia straight to the orbit was made where an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) answered questions from Estonian students, presented by their teachers.
A group of cosmos enthusiasts sat eagerly in a small studio room at the Tõravere observatory hoping on a steady Skype connection and sound quality. An opportunity to be in contact with an astronaut 400 km away from Earth has never before come up in Estonia, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday.
A few hundred questions were sent in by Estonian students and other enthusiasts but only a selection of three made it to the joint call with France and Austria. For example, a question from Estonia asked what the astronaut's scariest career experience has been. The observatory's researchers hope to eventually answer all the unanswered questions themselves.
"I am glad they asked simpler questions and asked a few personal questions about Thomas [Pesquet]. These personal questions are those that we presented as teachers," said Heli Lätt, head of the Estonian arm of the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO).
This year, Estonian citizens could apply for an astronaut position for the first time ever with quite a few Estonians trying to get the exclusive job. Among them was Ivar Parmas, a doctor and pilot who has wanted to be an astronaut since childhood.
"I would want to ask all kinds of questions. What they ate for breakfast and how long their days are and what has been their most exciting test. I have more and more of these questions," Parmas said.
Four to six astronauts will be selected for next October from the pool of thousands of applicants. "Let's say there is a higher chance of becoming an astronaut than winning the Eurojackpot. But it is still a small chance," Parmas noted.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste