F1 duo starstruck by astronauts’ ‘mission for the good of humanity’

Today they are drivers for Toro Rosso's Formula 1 team, but traveling to space was a childhood dream for 23-year-old Frenchman Pierre Gasly and 25-year-old Russian Daniil Kvyat. And ahead of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, the F1 duo enjoyed a grand tour of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landings. NASA, established in 1958, is the US agency for space exploration and research."I've always dreamed of visiting this place," said Gasly. "To speak with astronauts who are currently in space, it's something I've never imagined. It's a really special experience."READ: Hamilton 'could go on until he's 40,' says dadREAD: Lewis Hamilton clinches sixth F1 world titleTheir trip began with a spin in a moon rover — top speed of about 45 miles per hour — outside the center. The course resembles a rocky lunar landscape for the six-wheeler, which is designed to withstand moon dust and debris.From Mission Control, the pair dialed Luca Parmitano, commander at the International Space Station (ISS). Spinning in orbit 260 miles above, Parmitano chatted about life in space with Kyvat and Gasly, in Italian and French respectively.Astronauts at the ISS follow a daily two-hour workout to prevent accelerated muscle and bone density loss, with weights adapted to a micro-gravity environment.ISS astronauts conduct wide-ranging research, from cosmic rays to stem cells, while Mission Control in Houston provides a key point of communication with Earth."To see Luca there, with no gravity — it was so cool to feel so connected to something that's so far away from you," said Kvyat. In the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, the drivers saw the machinery that prepares pilots and engineers for their voyages to the ISS. Escorted by astronauts, Gasly and Kvyat stopped by a model of the Cupola, a dome with seven windows where ISS inhabitants can watch over the blue planet. For spacewalk training, NASA takes its recruitsRead More – Source

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