Students take long distance call from space

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Nearly 300 students from area schools had a rare opportunity Tuesday to talk with two NASA astronauts working aboard the International Space Station.

The students packed into the Infinity Science Center in Hancock County for a chance to talk live with two astronauts living in outer space.  One of the excited students was Kaydee Hensiek.  "I'm really glad that I got to experience this because it's not that common that you get to talk to people that are in outer space," Nicholson Elementary School sixth grader said.

The long distance video conference call was with Expedition Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman.

The students asked them questions about life, work and research aboard the International Space Station. A fifth grade student wondered what it was like working in zero gravity. Astronaut Reid responded by saying, "Working in zero gravity is first of all it's very difficult because everything floats around. But once you get over the fact that it's very tough, as you can see with Commander Swanson its the best jungle gym, it's absolutely the most fun you could ever work in your life."

Another fifth grade student wanted to know if there are any dangers involved with living in space. The astronaut said, "There is a chance my mom up in Maryland is watching this so I really should say no absolutely not it never happens. But, the truth is actually we get hit all the time and it's always by very, very tiny particles that we can't even see. We actually had a window get hit the other day. It just makes a little nick like a little rock hitting a car window."

It was an experience that impressed the students.

"I got to talk to someone from outer space and that never happens," said South Hancock Elementary School fifth grader Devon Sampson.

Hensiek echoed his words. "It was definitely a once in a life-time experience."

Infinity leaders hope the students were not only impressed but inspired to become astronauts some day.

Each astronaut spends about six months aboard the space station before returning to earth. But next year an American astronaut will spend a year in orbit conducting research.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.