CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Middle and high school students from across West Virginia were given the opportunity to speak with astronauts in space during an event Friday morning at Charleston’s Clay Center.
“I thought it amazing,” said Cyrah Moore, a freshman student at Cabell Midland High School. She was one of several students that asked questions to astronauts at the NASA International Space Station via Skype.
Her question to the astronauts: What was your biggest hardship and how did you overcome it in your journey to become an astronaut?
“Their response was they had faced a lot of adversities on their journey, but it helped them form to the person that they are today,” Moore told MetroNews.
The Skype event was hosted by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), in partnership with NASA, the Clay Center and WOWK 13 News.
Manchin said Friday’s event was the first statewide gathering for a NASA Skype call throughout the country.
“I don’t think any state has ever done this on the statewide basis,” Manchin said, speaking of the large audience.
Nearly 3,000 people total in the Clay Center and online watched the Sykpe call, Manchin said.
The Skype call lasted about 20 minutes. Students were able to talk in real time with two astronauts who, at times, showed them what it’s like to be in space by doing flips and passing the microphone to each other by allowing the mic to float from one person to another.
“(They were) 249 miles in orbit. It was directly one-on-one with West Virginia students. That was special,” Manchin said.
The message of Friday’s event was to let students know anything is possible if you work hard and have a passion for what you do, Manchin said.
“Sometimes they think there’s no hope — I can’t stay in West Virginia. Well, we’re here to tell them today that we need them here in West Virginia for the good jobs that we have and there is a lot of hope,” he said.
Booths were also set up at the Clay Center for the “Out of this World” Student Career Fair. Moore toured the fair with fellow classmates. She said she’s now looking at pursuing a career in the STEM field.
“I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to and that if I just follow my dreams I can be an astronaut one day.” she said.