Brownville students talk with astronaut

Posted Feb. 25, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.

BROWNVILLE, Maine —They live far from a real space center, but a group of Brownville Elementary School pupils recently interacted with astronauts and learned more about space during a videoconference with the Challenger Learning Center in Rochester, N.Y.

After a technical glitch in connections, the pupils explored the challenges facing humans in space and learned how space travelers prepare for flight through a program called Astronauts — Living the Dream!

The program uses visual simulation to foster the interest of pupils in science, mathematics and technology.

“I thought the space food was really cool,’’ said Colwyn Johnson, 11. “I learned that every ounce of water on a space station has to be recycled.’’ He said the program sparked his interest in space. “I thought it was really neat that a ship has to go 18,000 miles per hour to get off the Earth’s surface.’’

Both Johnson and Jordan Durant, 11, said they were amazed at the ceramic tile used in space shuttles. An astronaut took a blow torch to a tile to demonstrate it was fireproof, which surprised the pupils.

Durant said the best part for her was the interaction between the speakers at the center and the pupils. “I liked it a lot,’’ she said. Durant said she realized that she could be among the astronauts in space in the future.

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