Coco and I traveled to Boise last weekend so she could meet Barbara Morgan, an astronaut who she spoke to this summer on the International Space Station. (See more information here and here.)
Morgan was gracious enough to come to Boise and meet with the 18 Idaho students who took part in the NASA downlink in August. 14 of the 18 students came. They got the opportunity to ask her any questions they wanted to ask her.
"What did you miss about earth when you were in space?" was Coco's question. Morgan said she really didn't miss that much since she was only gone for two weeks, except her friends and family. But she said some of the crew members on the International Space Station who had been there for almost six months did really miss their families, and could communicate with them through a type of computer satellite phone system.
She also shared about getting into space, and feeling disoriented for about a day and a half. Even though she knew her body was right side up, she felt as if she was upside down.
I really enjoyed her describing her last night in space. The astronauts get into sleeping bags to sleep, and are strapped in so they don't float around. She decided to stay awake for awhile the last night on the shuttle to see what it was like at night.
"It was like the stories of all the toys in the nursery coming alive after dark," said Morgan. "Things started floating around and moving."
She was particularly concerned about a pair of scissors she had lost earlier, that was floating near one of her crewmates heads that evening. She wanted to get out of her bag to retrieve the scissors, but didn't want to disturb the other crewmates. So she watched them float around as long as she could. The next morning they were stuck in the wall of the bathroom.
Always the teacher, Morgan also shared how she used geometry skills to use the robotic arm to move things on the outside of the spacecraft.
Coco said it was fun meeting her in person, and to learn more about what it was like to be in space.
Later that day, Morgan spoke in front of about 2000 Treasure Valley students at the Morrison Center at Boise State University, and also spoke to the public that evening. Then she was going back to McCall, Idaho, where she taught school for many years, to spend some time in that community.