A cosmonaut, an astronaut or something else? Astronomy with the Deaf World #6

"Cosmonaut" or "astronaut"? Or maybe otherwise? [Automatic subtitle translation. If you've noticed a bug, please let us know]

– Well, the person who flew into space is an astronaut!

– Not!

– Not?! So how?

– Someone who blasted into space is a cosmonaut.

– I don’t believe … Seriously! You are lying!

– So what’s the name of this person ?!

In the second episode about astronomy, we learned the meaning of the words “cosmos”, “universe”, “astronomy” and “astrology”. And today you will learn more words on the subject of space – “cosmonaut”, “astronaut” and … others. What do they mean? You will find out by watching this movie!

“Cosmonaut” or “Astronaut”

So, broadly speaking, both of these words mean the same thing, that is, a person who has entered space or is being prepared to make such flights. The names “cosmonaut”, “astronaut” are synonyms in Polish – this means that they mean the same or almost the same, that their similarity is so great that they can be used interchangeably. What’s the difference?

The word “cosmonaut” refers to people who have flown into space and have Russian citizenship and before that – the USSR or dependent countries. In turn, the word “astronaut” fits US citizens and other so-called western countries.

This division is not official. This means that if someone by mistake calls an American astronaut “cosmonaut” or a Russian cosmonaut “astronaut”, nothing will happen. Nobody will be offended by anyone. It is more a matter of a custom that originated in the name of people flying into space in these countries.

A Pole in space is an astronaut or a cosmonaut?

In that case, if a Pole flew into space, would he be a cosmonaut or an astronaut? Since November 19, 2012, Poland has been a member of the European Space Agency and a possible Polish space flight would probably take place by this Agency, so the term “astronaut” would fit.

But there was already a Pole in space, Mirosław Hermaszewski. It was in 1976, when Poland was dependent on the USSR, and the flight itself was organized by the authorities of the USSR, therefore we call Mr. Hermaszewski a “cosmonaut”.

Chinese and Hindu astronaut

Astronaut and cosmonaut are not the only functioning names for people who fly into space. For Chinese astronauts, the term taikonaut is used, which can be translated as “outer space”. The official Chinese media uses the term “yŭhángyuán” which we can translate as “space traveler”.

India is also preparing for its first flight into space. What will the Indian astronaut be called? “Vyomanauta”: where “Vyoma” means space or sky.

Who is an astronaut really?

But there are two “problems” associated with the word “astronaut” – no matter what country a person is from. What?

First of all: when you see the word “astronaut” what do you think? Because I see a scientist who is a specialist in his field. Maybe he’s a biologist, maybe he’s a doctor, maybe he’s a chemist. In addition, he has undergone specialized, very difficult training that allows him to go into space. And this means great responsibility, great physical fitness and excellent health. But from episode 4 about space tourists, we know that it is enough to have a lot of money and health, and you can fly into space as a typical tourist who sits in a spacecraft and enjoys the views outside the window. But is such a cosmic tourist fit to be called an “astronaut” or a “cosmonaut”?

And the second problem? How high do you have to fly to be said to be in space? How high does it take to say that someone is already in space, that they are an astronaut, and not just a pilot or a passenger on an airplane that has gone very, very high? An astronaut is a person who flew into space, but from what height are we in space? And how far is it from Earth? He will find out about it in the next, seventh episode.

And if you liked this episode, please let us know with a nice comment in the comment. Hi!

– And you see! I was right…

– We both had!

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