Thirteen Japanese youngsters had the opportunity earlier this month to speak via Amateur Radio with NASA International Space Station (ISS) Science Officer John Phillips, KE5DRY. The contact was arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. The contact between NA1SS aboard the ISS and 8J9YAC, at the Japan Red Cross Radio Corps in Wakasa took place September 9.
Putting the questions to Phillips were members of the JRC Radio Corps-Wakasa branch and the Wakasa Branch of the Young Astronauts Club-Japan. One youngster asked Phillips whether the ISS crew could see the center of large storms on earth.
“If we fly near a hurricane or typhoon, yes, we can see the center very easily. In fact, I saw and photographed Typhoon Nabi about four days ago,” Phillips replied. The crew this past week also took photographs of Hurricane Ophelia.
Another youngster wanted to know what Philips would do if he met an extraterrestrial. “I hope we can find some method of communication, so I can tell him we are friendly, we mean him no harm, and that we can start to build a friendly relationship,” he responded.
Asked about the time difference between the ISS and the Earth, Phillips responded: “Some scientists predict that there is a very small slowing of time due to the effect of relativity in fast moving objects, but at our speed this would be a change in time of only a fraction of a second during our six months onboard.”
Masayuki Tsuda, JR9INQ, was the control operator for the contact. A crowd of about 100 onlookers included several members of the news media, parents of the participants and others. The Expedition 12 crew of Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan October 1 in a Soyuz transporter. They’ll arrive at the ISS October 3.
ARISS is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA