Don't you love the banner for Israel Space Week with the astronaut taking a selfie while making a spacewalk?!
That's the Physics Building in back, and that's where I went for the second part of the Annual Event to Honor Col. Ilan Ramon and the STS-107 Crew and Assaf Ramon.
(Please see my earlier post about the first part of the special day.)
On the top floor is the Ilan Ramon Youth Physics Center.
NASA astronaut Dr. Michael Barratt, who had spoken earlier in the day to hundreds of high school kids, now gave a talk to a younger audience, this time with an English-to-Hebrew interpreter at his side.
Just a few of the fascinating things he shared:
- Aboard the International Space Station for long months, they have to exercise 2.5 hours every day to partially overcome the bone and muscle loss that come with weightlessness
- Exercise time is like a "sacred time," when no one will bother you, and you can watch the news or listen to music while exercising.
- What the astronauts love most is to look out the window. And take pictures!
- They are 400 km above earth and make one orbit every 90 minutes.
- They all have to know Russian.
- In the last 60 years 600 people have gone into space.
- Not many people know, but NASA is about to start suborbital adventure tourism flights on a large scale.
- From 18,000 applicants to the new astronaut class, only 12 were accepted.
I knew I just HAD TO get a picture with this brave man, mainly for my daughter, Dr. Naomi.
I used my minute with Dr. Barratt to tell him that she also loves all things space and once worked for NASA in California and then went on to teach astronautical engineering at UNSW in Australia.
It was so exciting and inspiring to shake his hand and stand near him!
Astronauts are awesome!
Then the audience broke up into smaller groups, some to the planetarium, some to creative activities, and me to another lecture.
The young university lecturer opened with a slide of Sputnik, the first satellite.
It launched before he was even born; but I remember the day, Oct. 4, 1957 very well: Our grammar school principal (in Chicago) walked into our homeroom and whispered the news to our teacher, Miss Paskind. Then with a very grave face the two informed my class that the Russians had beat us to it, and from now on we kids would have to take more science and math courses and to work very hard to be the best!
It was scary for us preteens to hear. That was during the Cold War mind you, when we American kids still had frequent air raid drills, siren and all.
So in just 60 years we have progressed to the fascinating slide which shows the releasing of dozens and dozens of nano satellites taken up to space with just one rocket.
Next-generation astronauts (maybe) got to see space stuff inside the special glasses.
It was my first time. haha
Up to the roof just in time to see the blue moon rise over Beer Sheva.
You can see the beautiful new white double helix bridge too!
To the west the sky was still too light.
But soon it was dark enough to enter the observatory, open the hatch, and focus the big telescope on a distant star.
The whole upper dome rotated with a loud creaking noise and the telescope turned with a whir.
Luckily the expert setting it up for our viewing warned the kids in advance.
But even more awesome than seeing the star was gazing at the craters of the blood moon through these two powerful telescopes!
They were set up on the ground near the university's entrance.
Look at the low-tech plastic crate for short kids to stand on to reach the eyepiece!
The young organizers of this big day had thought of everything. Good on 'em!
Ilan Ramon and his jet pilot son Assaf, both of blessed memory, hopefully were looking down and enjoying this wonderful, moving, inspiring day in their honor.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)