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Students chat with astronaut on International Space Station

Students chat with astronaut on International Space Station (ABC7)

It was an exchange that extended from Maryland to the International Space Station. Students and their families gathered at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to chat with an astronaut.

Ten-year-old Ava Johnson of Bowie, Maryland said, “I like learning about space. I think it’s really interesting.”

Former Astronaut Paul Richards told ABC7 News, “Being able to actually talk to an astronaut while they’re in space, I’m hoping a lot of the students get inspired.”

Dr. Trena Ferrell of NASA Goddard said, “We want kids to realize STEAM is important: science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math; and that they can also become an astronaut in the near future.”

Ricky Arnold once worked as a teacher in Waldorf. Now as an astronaut, he’s educating kids from space.

When a student asked, “Do you have lights and TVs on the International Space Station?” he replied, “Television, we get our programs sent to us up from the ground, so the news is about a day late.”

Arnold tackled a range of questions about life aboard the space station. Artis Weaver IV is a junior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and wanted more information about the risks of being an astronaut. “They do a dangerous job and I’m curious if they just live with that danger or if there's some anxiety they have to get over,” he said.

Johnson approached the microphone with this query for Arnold, “How is life on the International Space Station different than life on earth?”

“I’m looking at one of my crew mates and he’s one of the big reasons it’s different. We’re only up here with six people and we get to spend a lot of time together,” Arnold answered hundreds of miles above Earth.

The opportunity to chat with an astronaut is part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station program

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