New York & New Jersey Students Interact With NASA Astronauts From The International Space Station

Published on October 04, 2021, 11:22 pm
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On September 24, 2021, over 15,000 viewers, including students and their families, were reached in an event, called NYC-NJ Unite.

Students from Kingsbridge International High School, Community School for Social Justice, Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy High School, Martin Van Buren High School, Fusion Academy and North Bergen STEM Academy from New York and New Jersey participated in this Educational Downlink Event. They had the opportunity to ask questions about living in space and astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei from Expedition 65 answered their questions.

The questions varied from controlling movement inside the station, sleeping in space, exercising in space, academic advice for teens, the process of becoming astronauts, playing videogames in space, among other unique questions that students asked.

“It was amazing to have an astronaut answer my question, especially because it was answered directly from the space station and only a few people get that privilege. I was curious about life existing under other conditions that are not in habitable zones and the astronauts really answered my question and sparked my interest in this topic,” says student Lesly Cordero.

Over a year of planning this event during the pandemic, six NASA Education ambassadors from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies’ Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) joined forces to create a bigger STEM impact among their schools and communities.

“It has been a though academic year with different changes so we wanted to impact our local communities with an event that would link students directly with astronauts aboard the space station. As students began a new school year, we used this event to create authentic and unique experiences to motivate our students and their families. Our hope is that this downlink event also enhances students interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” says Alejandro Mundo, science educator at Kingsbridge International High School and NASA GISS CCRI educator and associate researcher.

Diversity was promoted in this educational downlink as it reached more than 4,350 predominantly Black and Hispanic students and more than 400 educators.

“This event has motivated me to keep learning more English and science to better understand what NASA is doing and to better appreciate their work and missions. Latina girls like me should have more of these opportunities because it motivates us to consider careers like these and it makes us feel that we can also be part of these accomplishments,” says student Bresmaurie Mendez Cuevas.

Parents and families also supported this downlink event which was livestreamed on NASA TV and NASA Live.

“Back in my country we would have never had an opportunity like this. My heart was full of joy when I heard that my son Pedro would interact with astronauts from space so I spread the news here and abroad. This is a major event that we don’t take for granted. Just as the astronauts prepared to be in space, our students can prepare in their education to be an example toward our Latin American community and the rest of the world,” says parent Luisa Troncoso.

This is the first time that an event where multiple schools between New York and New Jersey focus on connecting students with astronauts.

“This event was spectacular. I learned more about the crew and their work at the space station, as well as their lifestyles and challenges. This downlink was above my expectations. The crew’s professionalism to respond to our peers questions was fulfilling”, mentions student Yorgelis Castillo Borges.

Expedition 65 began in April 2021 and ends in October 2021. This expedition with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur has included research investigations focused on biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, providing the foundation for continuing human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.

For more than 20 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked on the space station, testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Through Artemis, the agency will return astronauts to the Moon, with eventual human exploration of Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers—the Artemis Generation—ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.

Watch the event below

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.