“I think Italy is very photogenic,” says Samantha Cristoforetti. She speaks from a unique perspective: orbiting more than 200 miles from earth.

Cristoforetti, who holds the distinction of being Italy’s first female astronaut, recently spent a record-setting 199 days and 16 hours on the International Space Station — the longest space flight by a woman and the longest continuous flight by a European astronaut. Along the way, she’s taken thousands of photographs and posted them on Flickr, which has published a video that incorporates some of the more breathtaking images along with her insights about space travel and stewardship.


Another first: Cristoforetti is credited with being the first person to make espresso in space.

“I actually call it a spaceship on which all of humanity travels,” says Cristoforetti of Earth. “We have to start to perceive ourselves more and more as the crew of the spaceship, not passengers or people who happen to pass by, or tourists. But crew members who actually need to take care of it. To take care of each other, just like we do on the space station.”

The 38-year-old pilot and engineer returned to earth in June and has since received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The award is the senior order of knighthood, the highest ranking honor of the Italian republic.

This may have been this gutsy broad’s first space flight, but something tells me it won’t be her last:

“I think there is a part in every human being that has a need to go beyond the ordinary, and beyond the things that you can accomplish yourself. A big challenge, a big journey, a big adventure.”

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