A Canadian woman, age 96, cried tears of joy when she managed to fulfill a lifelong bucket list dream that is out-of-this-world. Jean Moffatt has been reaching out with her ham radio over the airwaves during the time she was volunteering at the Ontario Science Center. She was teaching young whippersnappers the intricacies of using traditional amateur radio.
She has been using radio to talk to people from all over the world, sending signals to satellites and speaking with anyone from the Antarctic to the Arctic. Recently, Moffatt fulfilled her long-held dream to connect with someone in space. Her ham radio connection was relayed through northern Italy to Commander Luca Parmitano, who was aboard the International Space Station. She then managed to talk to him, admitting that talking with an astronaut was always a dream of hers.
Commander Luca said it was an honor to speak with Moffatt. The near-centenarian asked him if his opinions on extra-terrestrial life had been changed since leaving Earth’s atmosphere – followed by his thoughts about cleaning up the environment.
When Inspiration Struck
She got this idea on her 96th birthday, and decided that it might be worth a try to connect a ham radio to extra-atmospheric radio waves. But there were a few things she’d need to take care of first.
Some of the ISS crewmembers make unscheduled radio voice contacts with random, earth-bound amateur radio users, often referred to as “hams.” They are allowed to make radio contact during their pre-sleep time, breaks, and before or after mealtime.
It took an email with NASA and three months of tries and errors, but when the connection managed to go through and the conversation took place, it was truly a wonderful moment. The conversation with Commander Luca brought tears to Moffatt’s eyes, and the radio enthusiast admitted it was truly the “highlight” of her life – which, after 96 years, is saying a lot!