Did you know that a famous Italian astronaut is watching you…from space?

On December 15, 2010 Mr Paolo Nespoli was launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan together with NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev. Their mission, known as ‘MagISStra’, is expected to last six months: they will be back in May, 2011. The experiments carried out by the crew range from human and biology research to radiation and technological measurements.

But that’s not all: Mr Nespoli decided to update his Twitter account regularly, allowing his followers to discover more about the daily life and work of an astronaut living ‘in the space’.

In one of his earliest messages on Twitter, he even complained about a dish of over-boiled pasta and chicken ‘cooked’ aboard the ISS (International Space Station): “The problem is that, as Italians, we have a very strict way of eating, and that breakfast broke every single rule that we have,” he wrote sarcastically .

The most interesting tweets, however, deal with the breathtaking photos of our planet as seen from space. As a matter of fact, the Italian astronaut frequently posts awesome postcards from different places, expressing his deepest feelings and thoughts: “Bellissima l'Italia questa notte. Chiara e senza nubi (eccetto Napoli...) Sono rimasto con il naso all'ingiu' a godermela. Sogni d'oro!” (which translates to: “Italy is beautiful tonight. It’s clear and cloudless -apart from Naples…-. I kept peering down at it to enjoy its view. Sweet dreams!”).

The list of Mr Nespoli’s amazing photographs is almost endless: for example, you can enjoy perfect views of the capitals of Europe, the Pacific Ocean, the Somali desert, the Nile, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Caribbean Islands, China and the Middle East, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. And for those who didn’t know, the ISS astronauts have the opportunity to see the sunset sixteen times a day.

As for Italy, he has recently shared some beautiful sights of the Po valley, the ‘tiny’ Tower of Pisa as well as the “disconcerting […] Vesuvio’s footprint right in the middle of so many houses”. Last December, a postcard of Italy from the Mediterranean was dedicated “to all Italians around the world”.

You can easily follow all his tweets and guess where he is posting from at the web page: http://twitter.com/astro_paolo