Luca ventured outside to maintain and prepare the Station on two spacewalks in July. His second sortie was cut short when his helmet filled with water and he had to find his way back inside, without communications. His calm nerves, training and help from fellow astronauts and ground control saved the situation.
Luca then put on his plumber’s hat and spent many hours replacing a failed pump in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.
In addition to all this effort, Luca’s focus is on scientific research. He installed the new Fases experiment that is helping us to understand emulsions – small droplets suspended in liquids that are used in many industrial processes. Luca also upgraded ESA’s Biolab with a new microscope for future experiments.
Luca was a guinea pig for many experiments looking into how astronauts’ eyes and skin react to living in space, freezing samples for analysis back on Earth and filling in questionnaires on headaches.