Rockbridge Students Contact Astronauts

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COLUMBIA - Some Missouri students started their Wednesday with an out of this world lesson.

Students in second through fifth grades at Rockbridge Elementary School talked to astronauts, both on Earth and up in Outer Space.

"Probably an astronaut and if I can't be an astronaut, then maybe an astrophysicist," said fifth grade student Jacob Hall. He was one of many students to ask NASA's Mike Hopkins a question. Hopkins is currently on board the International Space Station and has been for six months.

Rockbridge arranged for students to ask Hopkins about science and life in Outer Space.

"What does zero gravity feel like? Over." Hall asked.

"Zero gravity feels awesome," said NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins. "When I first got to zero gravity, it felt a little weird. I felt like I was falling the whole time, but now I have gotten used to it and it is fantastic. Over."

Students also asked about the training needed to become an astronaut.

"I went to school for many years and ended up with a masters degree in engineering and twenty years in the Air Force before finally getting on as an astronaut," said Hopkins. "Once I became an astronaut, it was four years solid of training before I got to go to space."

After the ten minute interview with Hopkins, students directed their questions to retired NASA astronaut Linda Godwin.

"I think it was good because you could only ask two questions to the astronaut up in space, but here you can ask her a lot more," said fifth grade student Bryce Jackson.

"Just to live in this world where we have a space program makes it seem a little more personal to them," said retired NASA Astronaut Linda Godwin who is now a professor at Mizzou. "I hope they watch the return of the Soyuz next week next week and say, 'We talked to one of those people in our school.'"

Students also asked what it feels like when astronauts return to Earth. Hopkins returns to Earth next week on the Soyuz capsule.

"I want to go to the moon someday," said fourth grade student Kaiden Schnanake. "And maybe I will do that!"