PA & Administration



Hi, I’m Rhianne,

As the old Chinese curse has it… “May you live in interesting times”. It could probably be argued that now is the most interesting of all.

On May 25th, 1961 President Kennedy announced that a man would step foot on the moon before the end of the decade. And so it came to pass that just 8 years later, we did exactly that. History seems to be repeating itself, as Space-X has announced a Mars landing in 2024. That’s just 6 years away and 55 years from that first historic event. It seems that once we set our minds to something, we find a way to make it happen.

You’re most likely reading my contribution on a multifunction device that would out perform any supercomputer from 20 years ago, and when you’re finished, you’ll put it in your pocket.

To me technology is a good thing, if it’s kept in perspective. It helps me keep in touch with family and friends, research products, stay informed and gives me a great deal of freedom. But some people do abuse it and some are just overwhelmed by it. As I said, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Life is full of opportunity. All you need to do is cease it.

Space Shuttle being transported for maintenance.

In the year 2000 I was fortunate enough to take part in a student exchange program to southern California.
Remember 2000. Other than being a leap year, it was the new millennium. In Antarctica over 500,000 square kilometres of ice sheared off the Ross Ice Shelf. To float north towards New Zealand. There were also a few other major events that year, such as a solar storm on July 10te, that caused a geomagnetic storm, disrupting world-wide communications. And perhaps little known is October 31st, the day Space Shuttle TM-31 launched with the first resident crew of the International Space Station. But of course, it wasn’t all positive that year, as on December 15 the 3rd and final Chernobyl nuclear reactor was shut down. To remain a permanent monument to man’s unwavering stupidity.

But getting back on track… When I was in America, my host exchange family lived adjacent to Edwards Air Force Base. It was also where my host exchange dad worked. “Edwards” covered a massive area comprising of shops, test airfields and sprawling installations. It was also at the time, the primary landing site for Space Shuttles returning to earth. It made a huge impression on my young mind watching a modified 747 landing, with the STS-92 space shuttle strapped to its back.

Mission STS-92 was a 12 day mission to install a docking station on the International Space Station. This mission also tested rescue EVA backpacks that would allow an astronaut to move about, untethered to the space station. A bit like you see in all the science fiction movies, which just goes to highlight my point. It’s a fine line between science fiction and science fact. What can be a dream today, can become reality tomorrow.

While writing this contribution, I’ve realised how fortunate I’ve been to see such things as the space shuttle landings. I remember dad dragging us out of bed at one in the morning to watch the International space Station fly overhead. It may have just been a small blinking light, tracking across the sky. But it opened my eyes to amazing new possibilities.

So perhaps the old Chinese proverb is true after all. We certainly do live in “interesting times”