Well that was different! I must admit I was apprehensive before the meeting as I presumed that this talk would feature technical aspects and perhaps leave me a little bemused and not a lot knowledgeable – how wrong I was.
Whilst drinking coffee before the meeting I looked around and quickly assessed that there was a good attendance today – at a quick count I put it at 50+. Jolly good but not surprising with the school holidays ended and grandchild minding and visitors descending for a stay at the seaside finished.
As usual President Rob and other committee members brought members up to date on events and other matters of interest, before our speaker was introduced.
Our speaker Bill Coombes, started his talk by showing us on his computer that the International Space Station, (ISS), was flying over Australia. Bill then proceeded to give us an informative but very easily understood set of facts and figures about the ISS.
What is usually in many peoples minds is how the basics of life are dealt on the ISS especially eating and going to the loo. These did not have to be explained as we were shown a short 10 minute video featuring Sally Williams, an astronaut, who showed us the food larder, and demonstrated how the toilet facilities worked, how to brush teeth, comb your hair and then where the astronauts’ slept. She also demonstrated on video weightlessness.
Bill then explained that there were 3 main dangers. These were fire, food supplies and the devastating impact debris can have in space. Some interesting and unusual experiments and trials are constantly being carried out some, just in order to ensure that the astronauts’ do not become bored! Zinnia flowers and lettuce are grown.
All the latest Cannon and Nikon cameras are sent up to the ISS to be trialled. Bill certainly had some terrific photographs taken from the Cupola which Bill likened to a greenhouse where the glass is 28mm (1 1/8” ) thick, which were stunning and covered a wide range of differing topics including volcanoes, mountains, rivers, big cities and individual monuments like the Egyptian pyramids
I learnt many interesting facts such as, Velco is one of the most useful items, the ISS never goes over the poles, 14 countries involved with working and financing the ISS.
The ISS weighs 37600kgs, (414 tons), 390 astronauts have been to ISS since 2000, the ISS travels at 17500 mph at 250 miles above the earth and is powered almost solely by solar. It circles the earth in roughly 92 minutes’ if fully staffed there are 6 astronauts on ISS.
Thank you very much indeed Bill for giving us such a super talk. I understand that this is one of 18 talks that you deliver and I certainly hope that it will not be too long before you are invited back to address us again.
5 September 2019