There is life in Space, but is coming from the Earth

A journey inside the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and through the highlights of the exhibition on human adventure in Space

By National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Lunar rock (1972)

This small but priceless rock was collected from the moon by Eugene Cernan. Cernan was commander of the Apollo 17 mission and is the last person to have walked on the moon. It is called the Goodwill Moon Rock and comes from the Taurus-Littrow region on the edge of the Mare Serenitatis.
The rock is a basalt (a piece of lava) that cooled quickly once it reached the surface due to very low temperatures. The then President of the United States, Richard Nixon, gave it to the Presidency of the Italian Republic. In turn, the Presidency handed it over to the Museum for safekeeping and exhibition to the public.
It is the only "piece of the moon" in Italy.
Short caption:
This small but priceless rock was collected from the moon by Eugene Cernan. Cernan was commander of the Apollo 17 mission and is the last person to have walked on the moon.

First few pages of the lunar module on-board manual (1971) and United States flag from the Apollo 11 mission (1969)

As strange as it may seem, spacecraft have their very own user manuals on board. The one shown here is the on-board manual for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), which was used for the moon landing. It is signed by Apollo 15 commander David Scott.
Next to the manual is a small US flag that was taken to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission. It is signed and certified by Michael Collins, the pilot of the Columbia command module.

Control console from the Soyuz spacecraft (2001)

The console is a spacecraft's control panel. From it, astronauts can operate the spaceship. This console comes from the Soyuz TM-32. This historic mission saw a space tourist, the Italian-American Dennis Tito, on board for the first time. Launched on April 28, 2001, the TM-32 docked at the Space Station two days later.

Kazbek-U seat and Sokol K suit (1980s)

No two spacecraft seats or space suits in the world are the same. They are tailored to each astronaut like high-end clothes. The suit and the seat used for launch and re-entry make up a unit, fixing together to protect the body from the enormous acceleration forces. This seat was used by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Viktorovich Zalyotin in April 2000 during the Soyuz TM-30 mission to the Russian space station, Mir. The space suit, meanwhile, is a Sokol K used before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It still has the flag of the Soviet Union sewn onto the arm.

Penguin suit (1980s) and light suit for internal Space Shuttle activities (2000)

The Soviet Penguin suit was used on the Salyut space station, on board Mir, and on the International Space Station. It features a system of elastic bands that compress the upper and lower extremities, stimulating blood circulation in zero gravity conditions. An astronaut's body is subjected to various effects while staying on a space station. For example, all astronauts return to Earth a little taller because their spine lengthens. However, these extra inches can make their seats too short, making the return journey uncomfortable. This suit was issued to the American "guest" crews of the Russian space station Mir, as can be seen from the NASA, Mir, and US flag patches.
Next to it is the light suit worn for internal space shuttle activities.
Inside the spacecraft, astronauts wear light suits that are similar to those used on Earth for normal work or physical activities. They are quite different from the heavy and cumbersome ones that we are used to seeing in photos of space, which are used for activities outside the craft. These light suits must allow astronauts to move around in the tight spaces on board. As shown by the patch, this suit was used on board the Space Shuttle during the STS-106 mission, which reached the Space Station on September 10, 2000.

Prototype of Krechet lunar exploration suit (early 1960s)

This suit is one of the most fascinating objects in the history of astronautics: rare proof of the Soviet project to put a man on the moon.
At the end of the 1960s, the Soviets were on the verge of achieving this extraordinary goal. The spacecraft for the journey and the moon landing were ready, along with the equipment required to train the team and survive on the moon. However, the colossal N1 rocket designed to overcome Earth's gravity and reach the moon failed a series of tests. The Americans reached the moon on July 20, 1969, beating the Soviets. The latter abandoned the project from that day forth, even denying its very existence for nearly 50 years. Many materials were hidden or even destroyed. This surviving suit is concrete evidence of the project's existence. It was meant to be worn by the first lunar "conquerors" while exploring our satellite's surface.

Tuta di volo di Samantha CristoforettiNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Samantha Cristoforetti's flight suit (2014)

This is one of astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's flight suits. She is the first Italian woman in the European Space Agency (ESA) crew. The suit was worn during the Futura mission led by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), which saw her spend a total of 199 days in space from November 23, 2014 to June 11, 2015. In particular, the suit was used upon arrival at the International Space Station on November 24, 2014, as well as during subsequent audio-visual communication with Earth.
We usually imagine space suits as big, white and cumbersome. In reality, this very bulky type is only used during the launch and re-entry phases and for extravehicular activity (i.e. operations performed outside the station in outer space).
On board the station, astronauts wear special light suits such as this one, which is reminiscent of a normal tracksuit, or practical and comfortable garments like T-shirts and shorts.

T-Shirt di Paolo NespoliNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Paolo Nespoli's T-shirt (2017)

This T-shirt was used by astronaut Paolo Nespoli during the Italian Space Agency's VITA mission from July 28 to December 14, 2017. Created in collaboration with the Museum, the T-shirt was worn on board the International Space Station for the 2017 European Researchers' Night, during which the astronaut sent a lengthy video greeting from the International Space Station to the Museum and its visitors. The video touched on the scientific, technological, commercial and social importance of the aerospace sector today. This is represented symbolically through the message written on the T-shirt ("Share the Space Experience") along with the Museum's official hashtag, #Museoscienza.
During missions aboard the station, astronauts spend part of their time working on many similar initiatives to spread the word about their work. Through live links and recorded videos, astronauts can describe the station's structure and operation, explain the experiments carried out, update enthusiasts on the mission's progress, offer contributions to scientific congresses, and participate virtually in events dedicated to spreading the word about the world of aerospace.

Credits: Story

Exhibition by
Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia
Leonardo da Vinci

Via San Vittore 21
Milano
Italy

www.museoscienza.org/english/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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