Many of us take for granted how connected we all are on this earth. With a couple clicks of a mouse, pushes of a button or touches on a screen you can communicate with people thousands of miles away. You have the ability to do this with the computer you’re sitting behind or the phone you’re holding in your hand right this second — it’s crazy, I know.
However, when it comes to communication with people that aren’t on the planet, even in 2016 that’s something special, as was exhibited by the large crowd at the Lawrence Public Library on Friday morning. Flocks of adults, students and local children showed up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to communicate with an astronaut on the International Space Station.
Takuya Onishi, a member of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, made contact with LFK as he passed 250 miles overhead and answered questions submitted by locals and asked by young students. Questions asked included “what does the International Space Station smell like”, “how do you deal with mental health issues in space” and “would you go to Mars if you were given the opportunity”.
After the contact with the ISS there were still plenty of things to do around the library. Kids were building rockets, playing with simple experiments exhibiting physics in space and watching a 3D printer create the exact ratchet wrench that astronauts use aboard the space station. There was a wrench that was already complete and it was surprisingly lightweight and mechanically worked right off the assembly platform.
This has to be one of the coolest events that the Lawrence Public Library has put on. I already know that I’ll never forget when I first heard an astronaut speak to Lawrence, Kansas from space. If you ever get the opportunity to have a chat with someone that is off-planet, you’ve got to do it.