Saturday, October 08, 2005

5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Today was launch day for EESA's Cyrostat satellite and I was on hand at the Leicester National Space Centre to talk science with the white coat people and drink champagne after 'lift off'.

I think that my lack of a PhD in physics soon became apparent at the press conference and it was amid muffled comments of "who's the guy in the tee shirt?" that I hastily teleported elsewhere, but not before I'd got the Cryosat team to sign my press pack. Hellooooo ebay!!!!

The 93 million pound satellite was launched to map Earth's ice caps in high res detail using two radar mapping sensors. This will show scientists how the polar ice regions are reacting to global warming. Even with my limited knowledge, I suspect they could be melting but I guess the 163 million dollar question is, how fast?

I decided to gate crash the party/press conference during a visit to the National Space Centre at Leicester and all in all, I had an excellent time 'nosying' around the exhibits, especially the one which explained how to 'go to the toilet in space'. I always thought that you floated there and that the real question is what do you do when you arrive but rest assured, the answer to both questions can be found at one of the exhibits. At the press conference, someone asked how you go to the toilet at Antarctica? The answer? 'Very quickly'

So let me finish today's post by encouraging anyone who has a passing interest in science, astronomy or films with Phasers or Light sabers to take a look at what's on offer at the centre. If your lucky you may be able to wormhole your way into some extravagant launch Party (Yes lets do launch!), or you may just have to put up with the excellent exhibitions and multimedia rich displays but whichever you find yourself gravitating to, the centre could leave a black hole in your wallet, you have been warned!

STOP PRESS..... I've just flicked the news on to see a press conference where not only is there a suspicious man in a tee shirt, but there's an announcement that the rocket and satellite have broken up during the launch process. It looks like its curtains for Cryosat and maybe popping the champagne corks at T+ 2 minutes, may have been a little presumptuous.

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