Touring Astronaut, Jeffrey Hoffman, around the Isle of Man, by Holly Beattie, aged 9.

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Jeffrey, Holly and Mum, Rachel, visiting The Sound.

Huge thanks to ManSat’s Rachel Beattie for kindly allowing Love Tech to share 9 year old Holly’s fabulous account and photos of Astronaut, Jeffrey Hoffman’s visit to our little Isle. We’re super impressed!

And, of course, please feel free to share with any other young stargazers you might know!

“Today we took astronaut Dr Jeffrey Hoffman around the Isle of Man. We picked him up at the Sea Terminal Welcome Centre because he had just got off a big cruise boat for the day.

Firstly we took him to The Sound at the end of the Isle of Man. We looked down at the sea and what a beautiful sea and scenery it was. We were lucky that the weather was so nice.

Shortly after that we drove to Peel and had a walk around Peel Castle and Fenella Beach. Then we had lunch at The Creek, Jeffrey said he loved Whiting fish, thankfully it was on the menu and so he ordered them for starter.

For main, as a seafood lover, he was interested to try the Queenies (he had not heard of these before) and he really enjoyed them.

Enjoying lunch at The Creek.

After lunch I asked him some questions that I had written down in my journal:

1)      What was your scariest moment in Space?

Jeffery told me that getting scared was not really something that he let get in the way of doing his job because as an Astronaut it was important to stay calm and problem solve. He said one moment that stands out to him was when a red light appeared on his rocket to say one of the engines was bad. They were able to work through this problem and progress with their mission however.

 2)      What inspired you to be an Astronaut? 

Watching space movies as a child was the biggest inspiration, because in the 1940’s when Jeffrey was a child, there were no astronauts.

3)      What message of inspiration do you have for the children of the Isle of Man?

You should decide what you want to be and work hard for that, believe in yourself and make it happen. Just because we live on a small Island doesn’t mean we can’t achieve great things. He was chosen out of 8000 applicants to be an Astronaut, and as a young child this type of job didn’t even exist!

Afterwards we walked to Davidson’s Ice Cream on Peel promenade. Jeff chose the Mint Chocolate Chip flavour. We sat on a bench on the promenade and gazed at the sea and we could clearly see the West coast of the Island. After we had finished our ice creams we made our way to the Foxdale Observatory Dome and met members of the Manx Astronomical Society there.

He did a very interesting speech on his mission to fix the Hubble Telescope. Only Astronauts who had done a Space Walk before were allowed on this mission. Jeff has flown over 1200 hours in Space, and has done 5 missions.  

The Astronomical Society then showed him their telescope upstairs in the Observatory, as it was a nice day they had the viewing section open and the views across the Manx countryside were lovely.

Jeff left his photo and wrote a message on it to mark his visit to the Observatory.

Holly, Rachel and Jeffrey with members of The Manx Astronomical Society.

After we left the Observatory we headed to Ballacraine to watch the start of the Junior Manx Grand Prix motorcycle race. Jeff was fascinated by the bikes and how far the knees of the riders went so far towards to ground on the corners.

What’s a visit to the Isle of Man without taking in a few bikes?! Jeffrey watching
The Manx Grand Prix.

Then it was time to drop Jeff back to the Sea Terminal so that he can head back on his Cruise boat before it departed Manx waters. He was heading to Italy where he would then fly back to Boston in the USA.

It was a great day with Jeff, it was amazing to have an Astronaut in the car with us and to show him the Isle of Man, which we could see he really liked and enjoyed and wished he could have stayed longer.

Who knew that Astronauts liked Queenies and Mint Choc Chip Icecream?!”