Astronomy Students Meet Virtually with NASA Astronauts

Posted by Ayleen Barbel Fattal

A group of FIU astronomy students recently chatted with NASA astronauts participating in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 19 Mission at FIU’s Aquarius Reef Base.

The students gathered at the Stocker AstroScience Center to chat live with four astronauts representing NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The international team was evaluating tele-mentoring operations for the European Space Agency (ESA) during the week-long mission in the world’s only undersea research lab. Tele-mentoring is when a crew member is given instruction for a task by an expert who is located remotely but is virtually present via video and voice connections.

James Fourqurean, director of the FIU Marine Education and Research Initiative, introduced the astronauts who talked about their experiences and fielded questions from the students.

“All of the questions were quite on point and addressed the training they were receiving 65 feet below sea level and how it translated into space flight,” said astronomer and physicist James Webb. “The astronauts were quite engaging and eager to answer questions.”

The students also learned about the Medina Aquarius Program, which is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide and the research being conducted at Aquarius.

Click here for more photos of the event.

For full FIU News story click here.