Back on Earth; Wind, Sand and Stars

Wind, sand and stars – (with apologies once again to De Saint-Exupery)


Mesospheric Noctilucent Clouds capture the first rays of a new day’s sun

That is my planet.

I gaze lovingly at the surface with its boundless and beautiful colours. How many times have I explored its borders as the dawn immortalises its curves, glowing in an indescribable light-blue that is perfectly outlined by the light of iridescent mesospheric clouds: the colour of infinite patience.

Shrouded in silence I look out: I feel our planet’s heart beat as I watch the vital water run along infinite veins across the land, nourished and protected by the clouds that cover Earth’s surface like the cloak of a vestal virgin. Its breathing is calm and eternal like the tides but large as ocean waves. It holds the power of winds that sweep sand from a hundred deserts to the tops of a thousand mountains in one breath.

In a few hours, all this will be a memory. My spaceship is quiet and dark in waiting, but soon it will turn into a dramatic theatre when we return to Earth. Everything that has a beginning must come to an end: this fragility makes each experience unique and even more valuable.

I try to fill my eyes, my mind and my heart with the colours, nuances and sensations so that my memories will be witness to the experience. Underneath me on Earth, lands merge: country boundaries are non-existent when you look down from up here in the Cupola. I observe the lands of men.

I always feel the irresistible attraction of the sky and stars when I look up on Earth. I encourage my mind to lose itself in the infinite and the unknown. It is in our nature, our Ulysses gene. Nonetheless, Ulysses returns to Ithaca after many travels: his island always in his dreams. If I had been born in the interstellar darkness, if I had spent my entire life traveling far from our world, I would look back at our bright-blue waters and diverse continents with the same admiration. Every sunrise and every sunset would instil the same sense of awe. I would dream of sinking my feet in the warm sands, to feel the cold embrace of snow and the caress of the salty sea-breeze that blows towards land. I would wonder how it feels to bathe in its waters, to bask in the warmth of the Sun.

But I am lucky: I was born there.

That is my planet. That is my home.


 As  coordinators of a project encouraging anyone to acquire English to communicate all over the world, we would like to thank whoever, including Luca Parmitano and his colleagues in this last mission, speaks and writes it from elsewhere.

An invitation to have no barriers, no borders, the same human being everywhere, eager to communicate, each time with new eyes, into the space and on the planet.

Do we have these new eyes to see what's new every day? 

What did strike you most of this mission into the space?   

Find videos on the Internet with the astronauts speaking English and let us know what they were talking about. 


Enjoy your English


Anna - Coordinator          Source:


0 #2 Cristina Gianfaldoni 2013-11-23 16:06
Parmitano said that he realized to be in love with the Earth and his love for Sicily is the symbol of his love for the Earth. Every day he saw sixteen sunrises and to live in space was wonderful: he would like to go back there immediately. But the best memory of his return is the daughters' smile when he woke up them. The look that he saw in their eyes is something that will stay with him forever.
+1 #1 franca landucci 2013-11-22 16:20
Luca Parmitano is the European Space Agency astronaut italian who lived 166 days on the International Space Station after turning around the earth for 2656 times.
Parmitano concluded its mission with a perfect landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan, Monday , November 11, 2013.
Parmitano went into orbit last Monday 29 together with Russian commander Yurkhichin and American astronaut Karen Nyberg.
And while it begins for him after the mission, waiting for future flight assignment, proceeds sent the training of our next astronaut: Samantha Cristoforetti.

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