Space Station Crew Talks with Kentucky Students, Officials | Summary and Q&A

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August 31, 2016
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NASA
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Space Station Crew Talks with Kentucky Students, Officials

TL;DR

Astronauts on the International Space Station answer questions from students about their experiences in space.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Commander Kate, can you put into words the emotions you felt the first time you saw the Earth below you?

Kate describes the experience as the most amazing and surprising thing in her life, with beautiful and inspiring emotions.

Q: How close are we to a new propulsion system for interstellar travel?

Commander Jeff explains that while new propulsion systems are being developed for Mars travel, interstellar travel is still considered science fiction due to the practical challenges of covering vast distances.

Q: How is the space station helping NASA get closer to a Mars expedition?

Kate explains how the space station serves as a test bed for technologies needed for long-duration space travel and how these technologies also have applications on Earth.

Q: How do plants know which way to send their roots without gravity?

Jeff explains that plants are drawn to the light source and grow towards it, sending their roots into the nutrient-rich environment provided on the space station.

Q: What is the most valuable thing you learned in elementary school that you continue to use today?

Kate mentions that lessons learned in elementary school, such as organization and basic subjects like geography and math, are applicable to being a good crew member on the space station.

Q: How has your understanding of the universe changed since seeing it from space?

Jeff talks about appreciating the vastness of space and having a deeper understanding and appreciation for Earth as our unique and habitable home.

Q: What training does an astronaut have to go through to be physically and mentally fit for space travel?

Kate explains that astronauts undergo extensive training, including hundreds to thousands of hours of physical and mental preparation, medical tests, exposure to stressful conditions, and learning about human physiology.

Q: Have you ever seen anything unexplainable in space?

Jeff mentions that he has not seen anything unexplainable and dismisses the existence of UFOs, but acknowledges seeing phenomenal things in space.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Astronaut Kate describes her emotions when she first saw the Earth from space and how it was both beautiful and inspiring.

  • Commander Jeff explains that while new propulsion systems are being developed for travel to Mars, interstellar travel is still a long way off due to the practical challenges of covering such great distances.

  • Kate discusses how the space station is helping NASA with its goals of going beyond low Earth orbit and how the technologies being tested have applications on Earth as well.

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