Lightyear: a real astronaut explains how he stays happy
Tim Peake was the first British astronaut to undertake a spacewalk, and now, he’s in Pixar’s Lightyear – here’s his tips for staying safe and happy, among the stars or otherwise
words Eve Walker
Lightyear is the latest movie in the beloved Toy Story franchise and the first Pixar movie to hit the cinema since 2020. The animated movie follows the story of the ‘real’ Buzz Lightyear (who the toy in the original movie was based on), as he embarks upon an intergalactic adventure.
The movie has been banned in multiple countries due to the same-sex kiss between two lesbian characters, which is a lovely moment of LGBTQ+ representation to experience in a children’s movie during pride month.
And while this film centres on everyone’s fave fictional space cadet, Lightyear also features a cameo from a real deal astronaut. Tim Peake appears as ‘Tim’ (go figure), who speaks to Buzz from Mission Control.
Tim spent six months on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015 to 2016, meaning he orbited Earth around 3,000 times. While onboard the space station, he ran the London Marathon from a treadmill – that made him the second person to run a marathon from space. He is also the first British astronaut to ever do a spacewalk. Out of this world cool.
With all the buzz around Lightyear, Woo caught up with Tim, a real life astronaut with all the galactic creds necessary, to find out what lights him up from within. We really wanted to know – how do people who actually go to space really copy? Away from their homes, loved ones, gravity, and the constraints of time and space as we know it, Tim tells us how to keep your body and mind healthy while floating through the galaxy
Sleep is important wherever we are, and Tim knows that it needs to be prioritised even when you’re up among the stars. In space, astronauts make the lighting softer and change the frequency from bright white to red shifted light to get them in the mood for sleeping. Closing the hatches is also key, keeping UV rays out of their eyes.
Not only is moving your body good for mental health, but in space because of the change in gravity and tension, our muscle and bone mass wastes away as our bodies don’t believe they need it. To ensure a safe return to earth, astronauts must exercise every day.
Aside from, ya know, keeping us alive, Peake explains that there is a psychological comfort in food. Every Friday, the team shares the limited snacks they have in what must be the trippiest looking dinner party ever featuring nothing but floating food.
Part of space training is dedicated to soft skills; learning how to manage stressful situations, talking to other people about it, living in a cave for a week and underwater for 10 days helps prepare astronauts for life in a spaceship.
To be able to relax, you need to unwind. Practical jokes are played even when in space – one of Peake’s colleagues managed to sneak a gorilla costume into the spaceship and jumped (or floated?) out at a co-worker with it on. Aside from pranking people, astronaut’s are encouraged to carry out hobbies, maybe by bringing a musical instrument on board, or a camera for capturing the breathtaking views.
Lightyear is out in cinemas now