NEW: Calling outer space: County students speak to astronaut in orbit


As the voice began to crackle through the radio, nearly a dozen Palm Beach County students, their parents and others gathered at the South Florida Science Museum waited with excitement.

Seconds later, it was the moment the students may never forget. They were communicating live with Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli as he orbited the Earth aboard the International Space Station. For about 10 minutes, 11 students chosen from an essay competition got a chance to ask Nespoli questions.

What’s your biggest fear?

What’s the future of air travel?

If you had to return to Earth right now, what one thing would you like to accomplish?

The space station was about 250 miles above earth passing over the Florida-Georgia border as it made contact the science museum

Lucy Newmyer, a seventh-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy in West Palm Beach, was one of the students chose and described it as “an amazing experience.”

“My class just recently took a trip to the Kennedy Space Center where we got to talk to an astronaut,” she said. “But it’s completely different when you’re actually talking to one while they’re in space. I think it’s something I’m never going to forget.”

Newmyer wanted to know what Nespoli’s biggest fears were doing his mission. Nespoli explained that astronauts undergo extensive training and said his primary focus was completing the mission.

Eli Fratello, 9, a fourth-grader at Manatee Elementary School in suburban Boynton Beach, said he wants to pursue a career in the airline industry.

“It was really exciting getting to know what the future of air travel might be like ” he said.

Disika Parikh, a fifth-grader at Elbridge Gale Elementary in Wellington, said Monday’s event inspired her to want learn more about space.

The Science Museum participated in a similar event in 2012 and learned about three weeks ago that it had been chosen for this year’s even, said Kate Arrizza, the chief operating officer for the science museum.

Arrizza said the goal was to try to inspire more kids to become interested in science and technology.

“We really hope it kind of ignites a spark in them,” she said. “We’re really about STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Every year, fewer and fewer kids seem to be interested in space, astronomy So we’re trying to ignite that (spark). Things like this are the perfect way to do it. “



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: How to register for Race for the Cure this week in Wellington
NEW: How to register for Race for the Cure this week in Wellington

Want to register for this year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure but not sure how to do it? The organization will have registration pop-ups throughout the county, including one in Wellington, ahead of the Jan. 27 race. Registration fees start at $10 for children, $35 for untimed participants and $40 for time participants. You also can register...
NEW: Minto donates $75,000 to Seminole Ridge home-building program
NEW: Minto donates $75,000 to Seminole Ridge home-building program

Seminole Ridge High School’s Weitz Construction Academy has started building its seventh home for Habitat for Humanity, and the program is getting some help from a new partner. Minto Foundation Inc. – a charitable arm of Minto Communities, the developer behind the new city of Westlake – recently donated $75,000 to the academy and...
Kristen Bell mocks Melania Trump during SAG Awards opening monologue
Kristen Bell mocks Melania Trump during SAG Awards opening monologue

Host Kristen Bell kicked off the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards with a brief but punchy monologue that included a subtle joke at first lady Melania Trump’s expense. “There has never been a host for this awards show before,” Bell said. “First time. First person. First lady! I honestly never thought I would grow...
Alison Brie weighs in on sexual misconduct allegations against brother-in-law James Franco
Alison Brie weighs in on sexual misconduct allegations against brother-in-law James Franco

E!’s red carpet coverage of the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild awards got off to an awkward start when host Giuliana Rancic asked nominee Alison Brie a surprise question about the sexual misconduct allegations against her brother-in-law, James Franco. Brie is married to Franco’s brother, Dave Franco, who appears in “The...
Delray Beach residents homeless after fire
Delray Beach residents homeless after fire

Residents of a Delray Beach duplex are without a place to live after a fire swept through one side of their building in the 200 block of Southwest Fourth Avenue Sunday afternoon. “Heavy flames” were shooting from one of the units when firefighters arrived shortly before 3 p.m., according to Capt. Kevin Saxton of Delray Beach Fire Rescue...
More Stories