Today, Congressman Smith (TX-21) joined more than 100 students at O. Henry Middle School in a live video discussion with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Congressman Smith kicked off the discussion with the space station and spoke to students about the importance of space exploration and science education.
American astronauts Dan Burbank and Don Pettit, along with European astronaut André Kuipers, answered questions from students via a live television downlink to teach students about living and working in space.
Congressman Smith: "For over ten years, NASA astronauts have been living and working onboard the International Space Station, an amazing engineering achievement. The Space Station is roughly the size of a football field and has more livable space than a five-bedroom house. It includes science laboratories for six astronauts living and working onboard.
"Gene Cernan, the last American astronaut to set foot on the Moon, recently testified before Congress about the importance of science education saying, "Tell young people in school today to keep shooting for the Moon--to study math, science, and engineering--because even if they miss the Moon they'll still be amongst the stars.'
"My hope for the students we met today is that many will pursue careers in science and use their knowledge to explore strange new worlds and better understand our universe."
Congressman Smith is vice-chair of the House Science Committee's Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee. He supports legislation to help encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for America's youth.
Events like today are part of NASA's Teaching from Space Program, which supports learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of space. This in-flight education downlink is one in a series with educational organizations in the United States to encourage STEM teaching and learning.