Clay students pose questions to astronauts

 

From Staff Reports, TTN News Services

COOKEVILLE-Three Clay County students were among 20 students who recently posed questions to TTU alumnus Barry Wilmore and other astronauts as they worked aboard the International Space Station on its November mission. 

 

CCHS students Randi Strong, Alyssa Clements, and Cierra Goolsby were among winners in the “Soaring Eagle Question Contest,” and they spoke directly to NASA astronauts as they orbited the earth. 

 

Several other CCHS students were among the finalists in the contest and were invited to watch the video conference. The other Clay students invited to the conference were: Jessica Carman, Sonny (Sierra) Taylor, Chris Arms, Patrick Bias, Richard Roberts, Kaleb Collins, Elizabeth Copeland, Alyssa Wright, Hayley Torgersen, Chelsey McLerran, Gabby Pierce, Rachel Burnette, Elizabeth Key and Brooklyn Cherry. 

 

 

PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT

HANGING AROUND-NASA Astronauts Barry WIlmore, Nicole Stoff and Leland Melvin in zero gravity about the International Space Station, fielding questions from students, including three from Clay County. Wilmore is a TTU graduate, and you can see the TTU pennant and flag  prominently displayed. (Photo courtesy TTU)

 

On Sunday, November 22, space shuttle Atlantis Pilot Barry E. Wilmore, a Tech graduate and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Nicole Stott participated in an education event with students from kindergarten through college. Congressman Bart Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, and university President Robert Bell also participated. 

 

Wilmore was born and raised in Tennessee and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Tennessee Tech.

 

“A warm welcome from Earth, and everyone here at the campus of Tennessee Technological University,” Gordon said in opening the conference. “We have some students with tough questions for you.”

 

Students then took turns asking questions of the three astronauts. The questions from Clay students Strong, Goolsby and Clements follow, along with the astronauts’ answers. 

 

• Alyssa Clements, 12th grader from Clay Co. High – (What are some) Changes on your body going from weightless to normal?

 

Stott – I’m about to experience that in about a week. A big part, for a few months I’ve been floating around and have not needed to use my muscles to get places. You very quickly lose bone and muscle mass. I spend two hours exercising with weights and aerobics on a bike or treadmill to maintain bone and muscle mass. Hopefully that will help me as I get back. From my colleagues I’ve learned that recovery happens very quickly. And the trainers will put me through rigorous exercise – they’ll pump me up. I look forward to walking on the planet again.

 

• Jessica Randi Strong, 11th grader from Clay Co. High – When you step outside, do you feel the temperature change on a spacewalk?

 

Melvin – I haven’t been on one, but the EMUs – spacesuits – are like little spaceships that have controls to change the temperature if you need to make it warmer or cooler.

 

• Cierra Goolsby, 12th grader from Clay Co. High) – Do you get physically as tired in space?

 

Stott – Yes, I do. I think it’s because I’m exercising two hours a day, and I don’t usually do that on the ground. With the work we have to do, you’re moving through station, and with the exercise, even though I’m not using muscles to move things, I still use them.

Tech president Robert Bell concluded the conference: “Thank you all. Tennessee Tech University is very proud of you. Have a successful mission, Godspeed. Thank you.”

 

“Thank you Dr. Bell,” said Wilmore. “Thank all of you for your support of human spaceflight. Go Tech. Go Eagles.”

 

Strong was also prominently featured in a WKRN-TV story on the event.

 

 

TALKING TO ASTRONAUTS-These elementary, high school and college students recently posed questions to astronauts, including a Tennessee Tech graduate, in a live NASA education downlink on TTU’s campus. Three Clay County students were among the group. Shown with the students here are (l-r): Millard Oakley, benefactor of TTU's Millard Oakley Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Congressmen Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon and Tech president Bob Bell. (Photo courtesy TTU)

TALKING TO ASTRONAUTS-These elementary, high school and college students recently posed questions to astronauts, including a Tennessee Tech graduate, in a live NASA education downlink on TTU’s campus. Three Clay County students were among the group. Shown with the students here are (l-r): Millard Oakley, benefactor of TTU's Millard Oakley Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Congressmen Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon and Tech president Bob Bell. (Photo courtesy TTU)