mardi 23 novembre 2010

Rencontre avec le Dr John G. Sotos, cardiologue et ancien candidat astronaute NASA

Le Dr John G. Sotos est médecin cardiologue.
Il est également diplômé en mathématiques et en informatique (spécialisé en intelligence artificielle).
Il est actuellement le Président d'une société spécialisée dans le traitement des apnées du sommeil.
En 1989-90, il fait parti des finalistes dans la sélection NASA comme astronaute.
Il ne sera pas sélectionné mais aime toujours autant l'espace.
Interview réalisée en 2010
Q : Why have you decide to become candidate for NASA astronaut selection ?
A : In 1960s America, every boy wanted to be an astronaut.
That is not surprising.
Whenever a manned space launch was scheduled, teachers would stop their lessons, roll a television into the room, and the entire class would watch the countdown and launch.
With this kind of emphasis from teachers, who wouldn't want to become an astronaut?
Q : What is your job and why have choose to do it ?
A : In college, a buddy and I intensively studied the biographies of all the astronauts who had so far been selected.
We realized that our chances of selection would be good if we could do three things:
[1] get an M.D. (medical) degree,
[2] get an engineering degree, and
[3] get flight time in military fighter aircraft.
That probably explains why I am a cardiologist, engineering new medical devices, and why my second job is as a flight surgeon in the Air National Guard.
Q : I suppose you would like to go in space. But why ?
A : Sure, it would be fun to go, to see the view, but that doesn't really help anyone or make a contribution to the sum total of human knowledge.
So my desire today is not too strong.
Q : Did you think it's important for the mankind to have a step in space, to send man in space and why ?
A : Yes, I do.
Is it more important than getting cars to run on something other than oil products ?
I'm not sure about that. I think the chief value of the space program today is as a source of inspiration for young people who want to do something worthwhile, difficult, adventurous, and larger than themselves.
We can't have our best people wasting their talents as investment bankers.
Q : What represent for you Yuri Gagarin ?
A : I know very little about him, but I suppose Gagarin, like all the early cosmonauts and astronauts, was a highly capable military officer doing his duty.
Certainly it took enormous courage to do what he did, especially given the disasters that had plagued the Soviet space program.
I recently read an insider's account that Gagarin was selected for his flight, above others, because he was good looking and would therefore be a better emblem for the Soviet Union than some of the less attractive but perhaps more capable cosmonauts.
Q : Which memory(ies) have you of Apollo 11 ?
A : Much to my dismay, our family was visiting relatives in Greece.
In 1969 few Greeks had televisions.
We had to find the Voice of America building in downtown Athens to see the liftoff.
When the lunar module descended to the surface, we listened to it in a hotel bar. (My first time in a bar!)
The walk on the moon happened about 5 am in Athens.
It was really hard to wake up, but we did it.
All the Americans in our hotel (and only the Americans) were down in the lobby watching.
The TV was horrible. I couldn't tell what was going on.
I heard Armstrong's "one small step" phrase and sat there thinking it made no sense.
Finally I had to ask my father if Armstrong was on the moon yet.
Q : What is / will be your most incredible space dream ?
A : If magic were real, I would like to see three things:
(1) the civilizations that are out there,
(2) the biology and adaptations that evolution off the earth has produced, and
(3) the view near the center of the galaxy.

mercredi 17 novembre 2010

Rencontre avec Jean-Jacques Dordain, directeur de l'Agence Spatiale Européenne

Jean-Jacques Dordain est le Directeur de l'Agence Spatiale Européenne depuis 2003.
Ingénieur de formation, il a travaillé sur les moteurs à ergols et les expériences en microgravité.
Il entre à l'ESA en 1986 comme Chef du Département Microgravité et Utilisation de la Station Spatiale et en 2001, il est le Directeur des Lanceurs.
En 1977, il fait partie des finalistes des 5 astronautes sélectionnés pour le programme Spacelab.
Interview réalisée en 2010.
Q : Quel est votre ‘’background’’ et pourquoi avez-vous voulu travailler dans le secteur du spatial ?
R : Je suis rentré en sixième le 1 octobre 1957, trois jours avant le lancement de Spoutnik et j’ai obtenu mon diplôme d’ingénieur de l’Ecole Centrale le 20 Juillet 1969, date américaine du premier pas de l’homme sur la Lune.
Depuis ce jour, je travaille dans le monde du spatial.
Q : En 1977, vous faites partie des 5 français sélectionnés pour le programme Spacelab-1.
Pourquoi avoir décidé de vous porter candidat comme astronaute ?
R : C’était pour moi la meilleure façon de vivre une passion pour l’espace.
Depuis je sais qu’il y a énormément de façons de vivre cette passion.
Q : Je suppose que vous aimeriez voler dans l’espace. Mais pourquoi ?
R : Pour vivre moi-même ce que j’ai vu par procuration au travers de mes collègues astronautes.
Q : Pensez-vous que la présence humaine soit indispensable dans l’espace ?
R : C’est l’espace qui est indispensable à l’homme plutôt que l’inverse.
Q : Pourquoi avoir accepté le poste de Directeur Général de l’Agence Spatiale Européenne ?
R : Par ce que j’espère que c’est aujourd’hui á ce poste que je suis le plus utile aux progrès des activités spatiales au bénéfice des citoyens et de leur vie sur terre.
Q : Que faisiez vous la nuit où Apollo 11 s’est posé sur la Lune ?
R : Devant mon poste de télévision pour vivre en direct cet événement historique .
Q : Quel est votre plus beau souvenir professionnel ?
R : Je ne garde que les beaux souvenirs, même si j’apprends beaucoup de ce que j’aurais pu garder comme mauvais souvenir.
Le meilleur est peut être l’atterrissage de la sonde Huygens de l’ESA á la surface de Titan : la découverte d’un nouveau monde!
Q : Quel serait votre rêve spatial le plus fou ?
R : J’ai beaucoup de rêves, mais comme je souhaite tous les réaliser, aucun n’est fou.

mercredi 10 novembre 2010

Interview de Jason Rhodes, cosmologiste au Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Jason Rhodes est cosmologiste au sein du Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) à Pasadena.
Docteur en astrophysique, il est spécialiste de l'étude de la matière noire et de l'énergie noire.
Il est également candidat astronaute à la NASA en 1999 (Groupe 18) et en 2009 (Groupe 20) mais n'est pas sélectionné.
Il vient ici nous parler de son métier, et de sa passion pour l'espace.
Interview réalisé en 2010
Q : Why have you decide to become candidate for NASA astronaut selection ?
A : I have always wanted to be an astronaut ever since I was a child.
Many children probably share this dream but I simply never outgrew it.
I have always wanted to learn about space and science and explore new areas, so being an astronaut seemed like a natural extension of this curiosity.
Q : What is your job and why have choose to do it ?
A : I am a cosmologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Specifically I study dark matter and dark energy, the dominant components of the Universe.
I have primarily used the Hubble Space Telescope to perform these studies.
However, lately I have become involved in several projects to develop new space telescopes to study dark energy.
In particular, I am interested in ESA's proposed Euclid telescope, a project headed by a French colleague and friend of mine.
I chose my job because I love learning about the Universe and I am fascinated by little-understood phenomena like dark matter and dark energy.
Q : I suppose you would like to go in space. But why ?
A : I would like to go because I always love pushing new boundaries and I think the greatest journey we can make will be the one what eventually moves us beyond the Earth.
I want to be part of the earliest stages of that journey.
Q : Did you think it's important for the mankind to have a step in space, to send man in space and why ?
A : I think there are several reasons.
It is in our nature to always want to explore the unknown and we have a primal urge to do so.
On a more pragmatic note, it is necessary for the long term survival of our species to move beyond a single planet or even single solar system.
Q : What represent for you Yuri Gagarin ?
A : Yuri Gagarin and the rest of the early astronauts from the US and the USSR represent not just heroes in the traditional sense but also professionals who did difficult jobs in the face of enormous pressures due to both national pride and the dangerous nature of the journeys they were taking.
Q : What represent for you Apollo 11 ?
A : Without a doubt, Apollo 11 is the single most important and impressive achievement in the history of the human race.
Q : What is your most incredible space dream ?
A : To some day go to Mars!