Vermont students take part in Q&A with NASA astronaut hosted by Sen. Leahy

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An out of this world opportunity for Vermont middle school students Thursday, as they got the chance to not only hear from a NASA astronaut, but also ask her a series of questions about upcoming missions.

“Wanting to be part of something so much bigger than myself,” said Zena Cardman. “I love research and science, but I can only do so much on my own. We can do so much more when we collaborate.”

Zena Cardman is part of NASA’s most recent class of astronauts, also known as the Artemis generation. She’ll soon head to the moon and one day hopes to step foot on Mars.
Thursday, she fielded a wide range of inquiries from Vermont students, from the kind of food eaten in space, to what it’s like to train underwater in a space suit.

The Q&A was hosted by a familiar face, Vermont Senior Senator Patrick Leahy, who has always taken a passion for space.

“When NASA recruits it’s next generation, I would be so proud to see a Vermonter like you raise their hand,” Sen. Leahy said.

Many students asked Cardman about her journey to becoming an astronaut and some of the challenges she’s faced along the way.

“Unexpected things always happen, the most helpful thing for me is realizing there’s many different ways to solve a problem,” Cardman said.

Stan Zajko teaches science at Danville School and was just as excited for this as his students.

“This is where I get the chance to sit back and watch the magic happen,” he said. “Especially the kids getting excited because they will be the ones building our bridges, and flying our spacecrafts, we’ll be depending on them.”

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