NASA astronaut Scott Kelly
Local elementary and middle school students will have a live conversation with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, currently living and working aboard the International Space Station.


Spacetacular connects local students to the International Space Station

What is it like to spend a year aboard the International Space Station? On Feb. 4, about 800 West Slope elementary and middle school students will find out. The students will gather at Colorado Mesa University for an opportunity to connect with the space station and speak with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.

The live link with the space station is the highlight of Spacetacular, an event organized by CMU’s student chapter of the National Science Teachers Association and faculty in CMU’s Center for Teacher Education.

Students from Grand Mesa Middle, Bookcliff Middle, West Middle, Fruita 8/9, New Emerson Elementary, Taylor Elementary, Tope Elementary, Pomona Elementary schools and Independence Academy are expected to attend, as are students from Cedaredge Elementary, Olathe Elementary and Northside Elementary in Montrose.

The event begins at 9:30am in the Meyer Ballroom with remarks from television personality, author, science teacher and CEO Steve Spangler.

The downlink with the International Space Station is scheduled for 10:35am. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website. During the link, space station commander Kelly will answer questions from the students.

Kelly launched to the station on March 27, 2015, to spend a year aboard with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. The two will return to Earth on March 1.

This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of the NASA Education Office's efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in the United States, according to NASA. Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides them with an authentic, live experience of space exploration, space study and the scientific components of space travel, while introducing them to the possibilities of life in space.

After the conversation with Kelly, the students will visit a variety of space-related exhibits and play space- and science-themed games.

UPDATE: Watch the conversation between Kelly and the students.

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