As I collected my boys from after school care the other evening, my seven year old stopped in the middle of the playground and cried out “Mum, what’s that in the sky? It looks like a rocket!”
He had stumbled upon the International Space Station, and let me tell you, it really couldn’t be missed. It was shining more brightly than any star and of course, it was moving. We stopped to watch it for a minute or so, as it slowly made its way across the sky before becoming lost in cloud.
Sunlight glinting off the International Space Station.
The boys were thrilled, especially when I told them that people were living up on that shiny dot of light. Right now, it’s home to “Expedition Crew 28”, made up of six astronauts who will live on the station from May to September.
We wondered what kind of view they were getting of the Earth. Perhaps looking down on us and seeing the twinkling lights of Melbourne and the other capital cities.
The Expedition 28 crew members (from left to right): Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa, Mike Fossum, Ron Garan, Alexander Samokutyaev, Sergei Volkov and Commander Andrey Borisenko
Maybe, like us, the astronauts were looking forward to dinner. The boys were chuffed to discover that even astronauts can eat Spaghetti Bolognese (a favourite in our household). Of course, up there you have to bolt your dinner plate down or have it float away.
If you haven’t seen the ISS, I really suggest you try. We might have lucked upon it, but there are great websites like Heavens Above that give the precise time and direction for your next chance to see it.
And while you stare up at that bright little light, travelling steadily across the night sky, I encourage you to imagine what it might be like to trade places, just for a moment,with a spacefaring astronaut.