Sultan Al Neyadi reading Tintin aboard the ISS. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: World-famous European cartoon character Tintin, whose fictional adventures in the early 1950s helped millions of children to visualise trips to space and the Moon, has finally reached space, thanks to UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.

Currently pursuing the longest Arab space mission on board the International Space Station (ISS), Al Neyadi has shared an image of him reading a copy of “Explorers on the Moon,” one of the two-part series of books that told the stories of Tintin’s space adventures.

“One of the comics I read on the ISS is that of Tintin - a visionary series that was originally written in the 1950s that dreamt of space travel even before humanity took its first leap into orbit,” Al Neyadi said in his tweet on Saturday.

Belgian comic strip artist Georges Prosper Remi, globally known by the pen name Hergé, had created The Adventures of Tintin, the series of comic albums which are considered one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century.

The popular series features the adventures of Tintin, a young Belgian reporter and adventurer who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Two series titled ‘Destination Moon’ and ‘Explorers on the Moon’ were prophetic of the first ever human spaceflight to the Moon that became a reality several years later. During his voyage to the Moon, Tintin and his co-passengers including his loyal sidekick, a dog named Snowy, are seen in spacesuits similar to real ones used in the actual space exploration missions in the future.

Childhood nostalgia

Before setting off on his historic six-month-space mission, Al Neyadi had spoken about how he had been inspired, as a child, by the space cartoons. While blasting off to the ISS on the NASA SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft on March 2, he had also revealed that he was carrying small toy rockets from Tintin comics to the orbital laboratory.

In the photo tweeted by Al Neyadi, one can see a miniature model of the famed red and white-striped rocket that took Tintin and his team to the Moon and another figurine of Tintin wearing an astronaut’s space suit against the backdrop of a window on the ISS.

The 42-year-old astronaut’s display of the objects from the past demonstrated how he valued his childhood dream and its profound impact on his future life.

Elon Musk and Tintin

Apparently, it is not just Al Neyadi who has been inspired by Tintin. It was earlier reported that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk had been inspired to model his iconic Starship rocket after the Tintin rocket.

In 2019, when SpaceX renamed their ‘Big Falcon Rocket’ (BFR) to ‘Starship,’ Musk was quoted as saying that he loved the Tintin rocket design and so “wanted to bias [its design] towards that” and “if in doubt go with Tintin.”