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Interacting With Astronauts in Space Now Closer Than You Think

25 Oct 2017, 3:30 pm

On Monday, October 16, the U.S. International Space Station launched the first Facebook Live video with students around the country in their new mission called, “Year of Education on Space Station.”

International Space Station Expedition 33 flight engineer Kevin Ford (on screen) answers questions from students during a downlink event held in honor of International Education Week at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Credits: NASA/Carla Cioffi


The six Expedition 53 crew members gather together in the Destiny laboratory module for a group portrait. From left are astronauts Joe Acaba, Paolo Nespoli, and Mark Vande Hei, Commander Randy Bresnik and cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy and Alexander Misurkin. On Monday, Acaba, Vande Hei and Bresnik will speak with students from New Prospect Elementary School in Alpharetta, Georgia. Credits: NASA


Sounds super cool, huh? But, there’s a small catch.  You have to be an educator or be a student to be eligible to a scheduled Facebook LIVE with Astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

International Space Station Program Manager Kirk Shireman will kick off the nearly continuous year of educators on the station through the event from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The event will be streamed live from the space station’s official Facebook account.

NASA says they will continue the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s education programs and supporting the country’s educators who play a key role in preparing, inspiring, exciting, encouraging, and nurturing the young minds of today who will be the workforce of tomorrow.

NASA will continue to pursue three major education goals:
— Strengthening NASA and the Nation’s future workforce
— Attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines
— Engaging Americans in NASA’s mission


Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold – both former teachers – will work aboard the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA also states the Year of Education will include opportunities for hundreds of students and teachers across the nation to speak directly with the astronauts in space. Thousands more will participate through NASA partnerships with companies, learning centers, associations, universities, media organizations and institutions. And new educational demonstrations filmed in orbit, linking life in space and human exploration, will be unveiled and available to classrooms coast to coast throughout the year.

Students, teachers and the public are invited to submit questions during the event through the station’s Facebook page, as well as prior to the event via the NASA Education Twitter account @NASAedu using #TeacherOnBoard.

Learn more about the Year of Education on Station here.

There are also a multitude of other opportunities that coincide with the education outreach program through NASA. In fact, there is one right now that is accepting applications. This one is called “Amateur Radio on the ISS, or ARISS,” and this allows students worldwide to engage in the excitement of talking through amateur radio directly with crew members of the International Space Station.
Applications will be accepted Sept. 15 – Nov. 15 for ARISS contacts occurring July – December 2018.

For more information on ARISS and other opportunities like this visit here.

Keep your wondering eyes to the skies. Cool things are happening just above your head all the time! Keep learning and stay nerdy. It’s much cooler anyway.

For WeatherNation – Meteorologist Merry Matthews


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