Many a schoolboy’s dream is to blast off into space and then watch the world whizz round below, sixteen times round the world in a day. Only a century or so since ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ was wonderous.
I’ve been a keen observer – non scientific – of the Space Station for a long time. When the sky is clear in the evening or early morning, and when its track is over Europe, it is a wonderful sight rising from the western evening horizon until the the sun’s reflection is lost to it, by which time it is over Russia or Turkey, far to the east.
When the recent Soyuz module was docking it was right overhead South West England, but the clouds hid the ISS from view. It will be right overhead Exmoor again at 16.52 and a few seconds on Saturday 19th December – see for all the details.
So Major Tim goes on round and round the world, and will do for the next six months. More than 350 astranauts/cosmanauts, male and female, have gone before Major Tim, and, no doubt, many more will follow him.
Talking of things going round and round, can any scientist tell me why the sock in my right wellington boot always rotates, in an anti-clockwise direction, as I walk. It doesn’t do so on my left foot. It is a mystery for which I hope some young scientist can find a solution.

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