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Jul
27
2005

I’m cold and I’m seeing X-rays!

Today they turned on my refrigerator, which got me down to 60 millikelvin, and then had me look at the artificial source of X-rays that I brought along. I saw them just fine. Because I talk with people in Japan only once an orbit, my NASA friends did have to wait about 90 minutes before they could see the data. But I’m working as good up here as I did during all those tests I went through on the ground. I heard alot of cheers in the background as they looked at the data I sent down to them. Everyone is really happy – probably happier than when we launched!

How can X-rays be “artificial”? Ok, they’re real x-rays, but not from a source in the sky. They’re from a little radioactive source that they included with me for just this purpose. It emits X-rays at a specific energy. It’s safe, and allows everyone to make sure that I’m working properly.

Now I have to stare at this source for a few days! Hopefully I’ll start looking at objects in the sky next week.