Talking to astronauts in space

Talking to astronauts in space

Local students in historic link-up…

Published on Aug 9, 2011, 10:52 pm AST

Source Trinidad and Tobago Express


CHOSEN FEW: Participants in the Caribbean Youth Science Forum with Michael Green, third from right (back row), deputy director of operations at Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Radio League (TTARL) and Camille Wardrop-Alleyne, second right (back row), at Lecture Theatre 1, Faculty of Engineering, UWI, St Augustine on Monday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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Local Sixth Form students were able to communicate directly with astronauts aboard the International Space Station during the Tenth Caribbean Youth Science Forum on Monday.

The students, were among 200 chosen from 38 regional schools, and were the first in the region to communicate with astronauts.

The forum was hosted by the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

NIHERST Registrar Joycelyn Lee Young said, “The 200 students present here today will be making a historic contact. It will further promote our science and technology research throughout the region.”

She said the participants of the forum were chose from over 38 schools in Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

“They have been vigorously studying space technology and the functions of the International Space Station,” she said.

Using the services of the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Radio League, a “telebridge connection” was achieved.

The students were linked to the International Space Station via the Amateur Radio of the International Space Station in Canada and Argentina, after which they were able to speak to the astronauts themselves.

Several questions were asked, ranging from how the use of the space station’s power source is used to maintain orbit to whether or not space debris is harmful to our oceans and seas.

When asked what the most rewarding part of his job was, the astronaut replied, “When I see the blue atmosphere at the rim of the earth and I realise that I need to protect it.”

At the session’s end, the students were congratulated by Trinidadian-born, aerospace engineer, Camille Wardrop Alleyne.

“I am so moved and amazed by what has happened here today. It’s a lesson to all of us about what is possible,” she said.

“You have now been added to the list of countries participating in sessions with the ISS crew.”

Alleyne who is currently the assistant programme scientist for the ISS, said that it was her passion to share such an experience with students around the world.

She went on to say that the ISS is an extraordinary resource for education as it motivates students, science, education and technology.

“Just remember that anything is possible,” she told the students.

“Always tell yourself that you can do it.”

Alleyne will be hosting a public lecture at the Faculty of Engineering, University of the West Indies, in St Augustine tomorrow at 6.30 p.m.