Toot and I had a great time in Norwich last night. Dr Michael Foale CBE gave a talk about his life as an astronaut to a packed audience at the University of East Anglia. What an accomplished, kind and measured man. A couple of hours in his company passed very quickly. He has great interpersonal skills and although we only spoke to him very briefly, both my partner and I felt we had 'met him' rather than just 'heard him' speak.
What an exciting, if not at times scary, life and career he has had?
- a spacewalk to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope's computer from a 386 to a 486 ( I had one of each but I only had to fetch them from Currys)
- stopping the MIR space station from spinning out of control after it had been hit by a supply vessel
- commanding the International Space Station
There were many children in the audience who were very interested in space and science. Dr Foale encouraged them to do what they were good at, pursue their dreams and not to be deterred by setbacks. He paid particular care to encourage girls to pursue careers in science and aerospace.
He very kindly - let anyone who wanted to - have their photograph taken with him. A long queue of excited children formed down one side of the Lecture Hall.
"Dr Foale, I could tell you that the photograph is for my grandchildren, but really its for me" said a very excited and pleased old man.
If you get a chance to hear him speak and/or go to events organised by ISSET or a 'Pint of Science' - go for it!