Good news for astronomy aficionados: NASA’s International Space Station will be visible tonight through Monday.
The ISS is NASA's micro-gravity laboratory orbiting the earth every 90 minutes at a speed of five miles-per-second and is only slightly larger than a football field, but weather permitting, will be flying low enough in its orbital pattern to be visible for a short time.
West Kentucky Community and Technical College's Challenger Learning Center Director Melissa Duncan attended a national conference for learning center in San Antonio earlier this year. She says she was one of fifteen participants to be allowed to ask the ISS astronauts a question via video conference.
“There were 15 people that got to ask questions of Scott Kelly and Kjell Lingrind," said Duncan. "And I asked: ‘The Challenger Learning Center at Paducah just facilitated its first underwater ISS camp, so what is the one thing we should absolutely be teaching our students about the ISS?’ and they said ‘teamwork.'"
Duncan says that's one thing that is essential in all training simulations at the CLC.
“We built an underwater ISS, kind of like what the astronauts would do if they were training in the neutral-buoyancy lab," said Duncan. "We have a pretty big model of the ISS, so they had to work to put that together, we also create crew patches, do team building, they work together on experiments, activities, so yes, teamwork is a big thing throughout our camp.”
Duncan says the crew seemed to be in good spirits and that when Kelly, the only American on the six-person crew, finishes his mission, he will hold the American record for longest time in space.
Weather permitting, the station will be visible from Murray in the north-west sky tonight at about 9:19 PM. Observers can check specific location information and sign up for alerts on NASA’s website at spotthestation.nasa.gov.