Omaha students hear astronauts on the International Space Station
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s not every day that students have the opportunity to hear firsthand from astronauts who live and work in space. But that’s exactly what students across the state did on Wednesday.
This is thanks to a new 4H extension program called “Launching Nebraska-nauts”. 27 out of 120 students were selected to have their burning questions recorded and sent into space to be answered by those on the International Space Station.
Deanna Mullen, a grade 7 and 8 science teacher, heard about the program and emailed students asking if they wanted to participate.
“At the start of the school year, they asked if you had any students who would be interested in asking questions of the space station astronauts and I thought, ‘Oh my God, what an opportunity!’ “
One of those students was an 8th grader in Mullen’s class, Maddie Caldwell.
Maddie spent Wednesday on Grand Island, where the program is centered, but her classmates were able to tune into the day’s activities after her school, St. Stephen the Martyr, was chosen as a satellite school.
“How do you overcome the language barrier when working with astronauts from other countries? Maddie asked.
His question was answered by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
“First of all, I think you have to work hard on a foreign language, it’s never easy, but it’s very precious. You have to study, there are lots of things on the internet that you can use to move on to the intermediate level, but for the next step, you have to go abroad, you have to immerse yourself in other cultures, and that’s what everyone here does, I mean we train in Russia, at NASA in Houston, Texas, we train in Europe, Japan, you go there and meet new people and that this is how you learn foreign languages, ”explains Pesquet.
“You have to be ready to step out of your comfort zone and sometimes you feel like you can’t express yourself as well as you want, but I think the result goes a long way, you learn a lot about others cultures, other people and that opens your mind and it’s fantastic so I think a lot of hard work, be prepared to go out there and take that extra step and get out of your comfort zone.
The students asked the astronauts everything from how they work together to solve difficult problems to how they play sports and exercise in space. One student even asked if they could still eat beef while they were there.
“It really gave astronauts the chance to open up about life on the space station and what they’re doing there,” says Grayson Davis, a seventh-grade student. “It’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s just, it’s really amazing.”
Mullen says seeing the interest on his students’ faces was one of the best parts.
It’s events like these that help young students envision their futures, she says.
Students like Grayson, who one day hope to pursue a career in science or space.
“100% love how fascinating it all is and so much to explore,” he says.
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