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Students in space

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The 6 students chosen to speak to an astronaut live on the International Space Station.

Have you ever wondered about showering in space*? Or what happens if astronauts get into an argument**?

These are questions many school students have pondered, with a lucky few recently getting the chance to ask a NASA astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) directly.

Six students from Mt Crosby State School, Runcorn Heights State School and Victoria Point State High School were selected from dozens of students across Queensland who had sent in a variety of questions.

The lucky six had the opportunity of a lifetime to talk with NASA astronaut Commander Chris Cassidy via a radio link-up as the ISS passed over the USA.

Taking turns to ask questions, the students prompted Commander Cassidy to speak about being in space for the first time (“It just blows you away. You’re looking down on our beautiful planet, where you were just 10 minutes ago. You realise that Earth is a spaceship for all of us.”); when he expects space hotels for tourists might open (“It’s technically possible in the next 5 years but realistically, in the next 10-15 years.”); and about his life threatening experiences in space ("It wasn’t me, it happened to my friend on a spacewalk. Water began leaking into his helmet ;and over the 45 minutes it took us to get back inside, the water came precariously close to his mouth and nose.”).

Listen to the full interview.

The radio link-up was organised as part of the opening session of i-Educate 2020 Virtual—the conference providing teachers with hands-on experience using digital technologies in the classroom.

* “We don’t have showers but we do have baby wipes or a bottle of water we can squirt with some soap and a wet towel.”

** “We are humans up here—we have opinions and emotions. But we make a decision and get on with it. There are many ways to do a job.”

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Last updated 16 November 2020