Society secretary and at least two other members of Keighley astronomical society attended this event, as part of the Leeds international festival 2018. The guest speakers were
Dallas Campbell – He compered the event. He has worked on Stargazing Live, where he presented alongside Dara O’Briain and Professor Brian Cox for the live launch of Tim Peake’s voyage to the International Space Station, as well as BBC1’s Bang Goes The Theory, amongst other programmes.
Bas Lansdorp – Dutch entrepreneur; he explained who his passion for ambitious projects finally led him to the big one. Manning an interstellar mission to settle the first human colony on Mars in 2032.
The first (unmanned) mission intends to head craft to Mars in 2022, with the one-way trip for its participants proceeding a decade afterward.
Lansdorp explained the why and how of Mars exploration and permanent settlement.
“There is no return trip” he stated and he explained the complexities of finding a crew capable of leaving their friends, family – and indeed planet – behind them.
Helen Sharman – The star of the show, the first Briton in space.
On May 18th 1991, a food chemist from Sheffield became the first Briton to go to space, and the first woman to visit the Russian space station Mir.
This unlikely career progression was instigated by a radio advertisement, which said simply “astronaut wanted. No experience necessary.” From more than 13,000 applicants, Helen was selected, and she began rigorous training in Star City, Russia, to become part of Project Juno. Sharman’s mission lasted eight days.
Sharman described her journey to the audience, from the endless preparation to the realities of life in space, to adjusting back to life with her feet on planet Earth.