For decades, Jean Moffatt has volunteered at the Ontario Science Center teaching folks how to use traditional amateur radio.
“You can always talk to other people, in other parts of the world,” Moffatt told CTV News Toronto. “You can send your signals to satellites. I’ve talked to people from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”
But she wasn’t able to use her radio to speak to an astronaut until recently, and the conversation she had with Commander Luca Parmitano aboard the International was one of the “highlights” of her life. Before connecting with Parmitano, she had to email with NASA and wait three months—but when the connection finally went through, the conversation was everything she hoped it would be. They spoke about the possibilities of extra-terrestrial life, and Moffatt asked Parmitano what his thoughts were about cleaning the environment.
“She mentioned to me that one of the things she’s always wanted to do was talk to an astronaut,” Christine Pigeon, the volunteer coordinator at the Science Centre told CTV News.
Moffat moved to Toronto as a young girl, hoping there would be opportunities for a girl interested in science and technology.
“When we moved to Toronto I desperately wanted to go to university, but my mom and dad had bought a house, and there was just enough money for my brother to go to university,” Moffat said. But Moffatt didn’t let that stop her. She took a course in amateur radio and received her license.
Even though Moffatt achieved one of her life goals, she isn’t planning on stopping her work at the Ontario Science Center. She plans to keep volunteering and doing the thing she loves: introducing people to amateur radio.