Tucson students get a chance to talk with heroes in space

Wednesday, June 1 2011

It's not every so often that kids get to communicate with people high above the earth, but last week, some elementary school students got to do just that. The Associated Press reports that Mesa Verde Elementary School students took part in a live video conference with the crew of the space shuttle Endeavor.

The web conference was the result of a special, but tragic connection between the students and shuttle commander Mark Kelly. Astronaut Kelly is the husband of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a shooting in Tucson earlier this year. The students were the classmates of one of the victims of the shooting, nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green. Kelly spoke about his admiration for the girl and shared with the children that he was her age when he was first inspired by men and women exploring space during the Apollo missions.

Communication with astronauts in space has been going on for decades. However, recent developments in video conferencing and web technology have made conversations like these nearly commonplace. The students at Mesa Verde simply came into school on a Sunday evening, and using only a computer and webcam were able to speak with the orbiting men and women beyond.