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Bhubaneswar, Dec 6: A ‘space odyssey’ that colonel of US Air Force and Nasa astronaut Jack D Fisher had to share made the opening of SAI TED 2017, the second edition of a tech fair being organised by SAI International School (SIS), here Wednesday.

The event aims promote innovation, and develop aptitude for research, and design among students. Fischer, a special invitee and the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony, addressed about 4,000 students drawn from 22 local schools. He had been picked by NASA space July 2009 and served as flight engineer aboard Expedition 51/52 to the International Space Station. During his 2017 mission, he logged 136 days in space with two other spacewalkers and returned to Earth with Peggy Whitson, the former Nasa chief astronaut who was the first female commander of the ISS with Expedition 16, September 3, 2017.

The mission involving Fisher had conducted hundreds of scientific experiments and he got to make two spacewalks. Fischer described the lifestyle of astronauts at ISS and said he and his team members worked on about 337 experiments, chiefly on development of cancer drugs. Following his ‘TED talk’, the children were given the chance to put questions to Fisher. The questions the children raised left the astronaut baffled.

The Chairman of SIS earlier asked him if he feared death, to which he gave said there were many ways to die but he would prefer it over the death of happiness be it in space or on Earth. One student of SIS, Amritanshu, wanted to know if the ISS was ever hit by projectiles in space. Fisher answered in the affirmative.

Another wanted to know whether Fisher would like to live in space or on Earth and he quipped in “space” but “with his wife”. Vedant from KIIT International School asked if the astronaut believed in God to which he answered that after seeing the marvel of the universe in space he was awestruck most of the time and believed there ought to be some supreme power that created all that.

This year’s SAI TED is to feature an array of events that have a lot of contemporary relevance. The event is based on five themes — Earth-2050, Space Opera, The Lost World, Tech World and Science Around Us. Besides these, there are other attractions such as the Start-Up Park and Science Exhibition and events such as TED talks, Speak Out Your Mind, Theme-based Students Session TED-Q: Gallant Quiz based on Science and Technology and workshops on robotics, photography, bio informatics and ethical hacking. About 14 start-ups are showcasing their products at the fair.

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