On March 1, SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) had the honor of being invited to a special luncheon sponsored by the Barrett Honors College and TEDx, featuring Astronaut Cady Coleman. After being introduced by Barbara Barrett (who has also been trained as an astronaut), she gave a very entertaining and informative talk, regarding life in space during her six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 27.
Focusing mainly on the scientific research performed on the ISS, Coleman gave an overview of the various types of research the astronauts do. From fluid dynamics to combustion, there is quite a bit that goes on in the orbiting laboratory. She even cited some exciting research being done in collaboration with ASU’s very own Biodesign Institute. The work being performed on the ISS provides great insight into aspects of nature that cannot be observed under the effects of gravity. Flames behave differently, and perfect crystals can be grown in the microgravity environment. Coleman mentioned her favorite experiments to perform involved fluid dynamics, and when she performed certain tasks, such as adding air to the fluid, the fluid did not behave as the scientists back on Earth predicted. There are many questions still waiting to be solved, thanks to our astronauts on the ISS.
Coleman also shared a fun video of her playing a flute duet with the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, while she was in space and he was on Earth! After her talk, she had a Q&A period, and the students attending had the opportunity to ask her their own questions of what it was like to live in space. She even stayed to meet each of us in person, when all our questions were answered.
This is actually second time SEDS has had the opportunity to meet Cady Coleman. We were invited to meet her at a similar luncheon two years ago, before her most recent trip to space. Like last time, she was an overall wonderful person and always a pleasure to meet. We at SEDS would like to thank Dr. Coleman for visiting ASU once again and sharing with us her spectacular experiences. We wish her well on all her future endeavors!