A French astronaut many miles above the surface of the Earth did something that pretty much none of us will ever do.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet pulled off quite the feat aboard the International Space Station recently. Even though he’s currently orbiting the Earth 249 miles from the surface, and his home country of France, he was able to cast his vote in the country’s contentious election.
Pesquet had to handle more than a few obstacles in order to vote. For one thing, he had to have a colleague act as power of attorney to cast a vote on his behalf, and secondly he had to deal with the problem that when not on the ISS, he resides in Germany. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t expect an astronaut like Pesquet to be bothered by hurdles like that, and he dutifully performed his civic duty as a French citizen while looking down on the country from high above.
Pesquet is the European Space Agency’s youngest astronaut, and he described himself in interviews as passionately interested in politics. He once remarked in an interview with Franceinfo that people should “open up and understand that the world is done with others, not against others, that we need more bridges than walls.” That suggests he is unlikely to be voting for far-right anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen, who is expected to fall to moderate candidate Emmanuel Macron in Sunday’s election.
Pesquet first arrived at the ISS back in November, and he will spend six months there with astronauts Oleg Novitsky and NASA’s Peggy Whitson.
Pesquet is quite the interesting person, as noted in the bio posted on NASA’s website. “Born in Rouen, France, on 27 February 1978, Thomas Pesquet is a black belt in judo and enjoys basketball, jogging, swimming, squash and outdoor sports such as mountain biking, kite surfing, sailing, skiing and mountaineering. He also has extensive experience in scuba diving and skydiving. His other interests include travelling, playing the saxophone and reading.”
He graduated from Air France flight school in 2006, and was selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009. He was assigned to this mission in 2014.