Hundreds of schools students got a rare opportunity to interact with retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Steven Swanson at Shiv Nadar School on Thursday as part of a five-day project.
Swanson, a celebrated NASA astronaut based in the United States, has flown two shuttle flights and completed four space walks. He survived 643 hours in space.
He is in Noida to interact with 270 participants of ‘Mission Discovery’, organised by The International Space School Education Trust (ISSET) in collaboration with Shiv Nadar School.
Thirty teams across 17 schools in NCR and Ajmer will brainstorm, interact with astronauts, space programme researchers and trainers, to present a unique idea to the ISSET about life in space. One team will be chosen to submit their idea to the International Space Station.
Students asked Swanson about life outside Earth, spacewalking, surviving alone and chances of growing vegetation in outer space. Many students also asked him about the psychological and spiritual effects of living alone in space for months.
“This is my first visit to India and I was pleasantly surprised by the energy and motivation shown by the students. They quizzed me about space travel and my experience regarding space walking. The students here are no less when compared to their counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia,” said Swanson.
This is the first of its kind event that ISSET is organising in Asia, after their project last year in the UK.
The mission’s objective is to provide first-hand knowledge to inquisitive students about outer space through workshops and interactions, said ISSET founder, Chris Barber.
“The objective is to motivate young people and inspire them so that they achieve their ambition. We want them to realize that they can become what they want..,” said Barber.
Students were discussing ideas on space travel among their teams. “We have read so much about space travel and we were really looking forward to meeting the NASA astronaut. There is so much possibility of life outside our planet..,” said Amaan, student at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.
“I have come from Alwar to participate in the event. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and gel with like-minded people. We are now focussing on working in a team towards a common goal,” said Heena, a student of Mayo College, Ajmer.