Back from Space

Published: 1.29.2018
Level 4   |   Time: 2:42
Accent: French, British
BBC Global News Podcast (1.27.2018)

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet talks about his experience on the International Space Station.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • a perspective [n] - a way of thinking
  • an astronaut [n] - a person who is trained to travel in a spacecraft
  • head out [phv] - depart / go
  • take it for granted [exp] - not properly appreciate something
  • from orbit [exp] - from a spaceship that is circling around the Earth
  • clear-cuts [n] - large areas where all trees have been removed (deforestation)
  • a glacier [n] - a huge mountain of ice
  • initially [adv] - first
  • reflect [v] - think about
  • be stuck [exp] - be shocked
  • overwhelmed [adj] - shocked
  • a collaboration [n] - working together
  • inspire [v] - give someone the desire to do something great or creative
  • by (in) essence [exp] - basically
  • on their own [exp] - alone
  • a feat [n] - an achievement that requires a lot of courage, skill, or strength
  • addictive [adj] - unable to stop doing something
  • float [v] - drift in the air (without gravity)

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Where is Thomas Pesquet from?
    the U.S.
    the U.K.

  2. Where is Thomas Pesquet now (at the time of this story)?
    the U.S.
    the U.K.

  3. How long did he stay in space?
    a few days
    a few weeks
    a few months

  4. What adjective did he use to describe the Earth?

  5. What environmental problems does he mention?
    extreme weather
    glacial melting
    water pollution
    air pollution

  6. What was his first impression of seeing the Earth from orbit?
    The beauty of the Earth
    The incredible size of the Earth
    The negative effects of human activity

  7. What was his second impression of seeing the Earth from orbit?
    The beauty of the Earth
    The incredible size of the Earth
    The negative effects of human activity

  8. What did he take pictures of while he was in space?
    The weather patterns on Earth
    The areas affected by human activity
    The rivers and oceans

  9. What effect does he hope to have on young people?
    He wants to recruit new astronauts.
    He wants them to think about environmental issues.
    He wants to inspire them to reach their goals.

  10. What does he think is special about the International Space Station?
    It is so large.
    It has so much modern technology.
    It is a collaboration of many countries.

  11. Which country(s) does he think could have built the International Space Station alone?
    the U.S.
    no country

  12. What adjective does he use to describe being in space?

  13. Why does he think being in space was like being a superhero?
    He had many superpowers.
    He became very famous.
    It was very dangerous.

  14. What "superpowers" do astronauts have?
    super strength
    super swimming
    time manipulation

  15. Does he want to go back to the International Space Station?

triangle Script

Now if you want to get fresh ideas about something, it helps to change perspective. Someone who's done just that is the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet. He's in the UK to talk about his experience of living for several months on the International Space Station. My colleague Sarah Montague asked him how heading out into space quite literally changed the way he saw the world.

Yeah, I think he did as a matter of fact. This is what you call a life changing experience in so many different ways. First of all, I think to me by looking at the planet Earth from from the Earth's orbit, you see how fragile it is. And we take it for granted here on the when we're on the ground, but when you see the negative effects of human activity - the effects of climate change from the space station whether it be water pollution in sea in rivers, clearings cuts in the Amazonian forests, air pollution, the ice melting in the glaciers in South America, you start to reflect and you think that this planet is very fragile. We have to protect it.

So what? Were you shocked by that when you saw it?

I was! I was! So initially when you see the Earth, you are struck by how beautiful it is. And that's really what overwhelms you at the beginning. And then you start looking at the details, and you start you start seeing the not so nice areas. The areas where the human activity is affecting the environment. And across, along the six months mission, I started taking pictures more and more of those areas at the end of the mission because that's what this would shock me to see.

Now the space station is of course an international collaboration. It is and this is sort of what you were talking about as well last night - that idea of countries working together.

Yeah absolutely. We try to inspire young people and to, you know, make them try to reach their goals. That's what he was all about. And yeah, the International Space Station is international by essence. And I think that's one of the best examples of how you can achieve together things that you wouldn't be able to achieve as just one country. No country on Earth could have built the space station as it is today on their own, whether it be the U.S., Russia or any single country in Europe. Just by putting all resources together and working together, we were able to build this incredible engineering feat.

And you're hoping to go back soon?

Oh yeah, we were all hoping to. You know, space is addictive. Once you've flown in space, it's like having superpowers. You can fly around, you can float, you can carry really really heavy stuff with just two fingers. So it's like being a superhero. Everybody wants to go back and to claim their super powers back.

The superhero back on Earth, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

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