Baldwin students get to speak to astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli aboard the International Space Station.  NewsdayTV's Virginia Huie reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, who is aboard the International Space Station, had answered 20 minutes of questions from students in the Baldwin School District  who watched her Friday on video screens in their classrooms.

When the Q&A was over, Moghbeli exited the monitor screen with a midair over-the-body tumbling roll that lifted her upward and out of sight in the zero-gravity environment of space — to the "oohs" of delight from sixth-graders in  a science class at Baldwin Middle School.

In a special downlink with NASA viewed across the Baldwin School District, where the astronaut was educated, a handful of students questioned Moghbeli, a lieutenant colonel and commander of the Space X Crew-7 that arrived on the space station in August for a  six-month mission.

The questions ranged from how she sleeps in space — in a sleeping bag she tacks onto a wall — to what science experiments she's working on, to whether she has done a spacewalk outside the space station — her first spacewalk is scheduled for next week.

Moghbeli  had visited district schools within the last year   and told school officials they could apply to NASA to talk to the space station, said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Anthony Mignella.

Mignella and Schools Superintendent Shari Camhi  went to Cape Canaveral in Florida to see Moghbeli and her crew launch to the space station, "a wonderful experience for us. When we were down there, we followed up with NASA representatives on our application," Mignella said.

Erica Taylor, interim principal of the middle school, said instruction was "paused" for all students in the K-12, 4,500-student district, to watch the Q&A with Moghbeli.

Isabella Ramcharitar, 11, a sixth grader, asked Moghbeli's advice for someone who wants to be an astronaut.

Moghbeli responded, "What I would say is, whatever you choose to do, there's not just the end goal … there's the journey to get there. And you should never do something just for that goal. You should do things you're passionate about. And as you do those things, because you're passionate about them, you'll inevitably do well, and that will take you to the next step … While you're doing those things, help bring others with you."

Isabella said later in an interview that she was inspired by Moghbeli to pursue her dream: "When I was like about the age of 4, I wanted to become an astronaut."

And now to see Moghbeli from space, Isabella said, "It was just like my dream come true."

Celeste Warner, 11, another sixth grader, asked Moghbeli about the experiments she was working on in the space station. 

Moghbeli said there were more than 200 experiments in progress. "My personal favorites are the ones that actually use us as the subject. So our human bodies are being researched because, as you know, we've been living and working in space for nearly a quarter of a century now," she said of astronauts.

"But we would like to go further, onto the moon with our Artemis missions, then on to Mars. So understanding, when we start talking about living and working in space for three years, how is our body responding to that?"

Moghbeli also told the students that she and the other astronauts, who generally work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., have to exercise about 2 1/2 hours a day to keep their bodies strong in zerogravity.

She told them that keeping items secured was a constant necessity, so she kept Velcro and tape on her at all times.

Celeste said in an interview afterward, "I wonder how it feels," floating about. She added that she's "curious to find out what's outside of Earth."

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, who is aboard the International Space Station, had answered 20 minutes of questions from students in the Baldwin School District  who watched her Friday on video screens in their classrooms.

When the Q&A was over, Moghbeli exited the monitor screen with a midair over-the-body tumbling roll that lifted her upward and out of sight in the zero-gravity environment of space — to the "oohs" of delight from sixth-graders in  a science class at Baldwin Middle School.

In a special downlink with NASA viewed across the Baldwin School District, where the astronaut was educated, a handful of students questioned Moghbeli, a lieutenant colonel and commander of the Space X Crew-7 that arrived on the space station in August for a  six-month mission.

The questions ranged from how she sleeps in space — in a sleeping bag she tacks onto a wall — to what science experiments she's working on, to whether she has done a spacewalk outside the space station — her first spacewalk is scheduled for next week.

Moghbeli  had visited district schools within the last year   and told school officials they could apply to NASA to talk to the space station, said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Anthony Mignella.

Mignella and Schools Superintendent Shari Camhi  went to Cape Canaveral in Florida to see Moghbeli and her crew launch to the space station, "a wonderful experience for us. When we were down there, we followed up with NASA representatives on our application," Mignella said.

Erica Taylor, interim principal of the middle school, said instruction was "paused" for all students in the K-12, 4,500-student district, to watch the Q&A with Moghbeli.

Advice from astronaut

Isabella Ramcharitar, 11, a sixth grader, asked Moghbeli's advice for someone who wants to be an astronaut.

Moghbeli responded, "What I would say is, whatever you choose to do, there's not just the end goal … there's the journey to get there. And you should never do something just for that goal. You should do things you're passionate about. And as you do those things, because you're passionate about them, you'll inevitably do well, and that will take you to the next step … While you're doing those things, help bring others with you."

Isabella said later in an interview that she was inspired by Moghbeli to pursue her dream: "When I was like about the age of 4, I wanted to become an astronaut."

And now to see Moghbeli from space, Isabella said, "It was just like my dream come true."

Celeste Warner, 11, another sixth grader, asked Moghbeli about the experiments she was working on in the space station. 

Moghbeli said there were more than 200 experiments in progress. "My personal favorites are the ones that actually use us as the subject. So our human bodies are being researched because, as you know, we've been living and working in space for nearly a quarter of a century now," she said of astronauts.

"But we would like to go further, onto the moon with our Artemis missions, then on to Mars. So understanding, when we start talking about living and working in space for three years, how is our body responding to that?"

Moghbeli also told the students that she and the other astronauts, who generally work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., have to exercise about 2 1/2 hours a day to keep their bodies strong in zerogravity.

She told them that keeping items secured was a constant necessity, so she kept Velcro and tape on her at all times.

Celeste said in an interview afterward, "I wonder how it feels," floating about. She added that she's "curious to find out what's outside of Earth."

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