An Out-of-This-World Opportunity

It is not every day when our Bosque students have an out-of-this-world opportunity to video call an astronaut in space. That dream became a reality for two of our Bosque students through their involvement in The Children’s Hour, a KUNM production. In front of an audience of over 600 students, Julia ‘23 and Maya ‘26 were able to speak to the astronaut who recently set a record for the longest space flight by a woman, Christina Koch. On board the International Space Station (ISS) since March 14, 2019, Ms. Koch had many interesting details to share with those in attendance.

Maya and Julia represented students from around our greater community who submitted questions for the astronaut to answer. Maya said that she alone submitted 10 questions, saying that she kept thinking of more and more. NASA went through the submitted questions and selected 20 for the event. Julia shared, “We each asked her a question about her experience, about the space station, and also specifically about plant life on the space station because UNM has had a lot of involvement with that.” Julia said that she asked a question about whether plants are beneficial nutritionally or psychologically. The astronaut responded saying that both were beneficial, although difficult to measure. Maya asked about what kind of plant experiments they’re doing in space right now. The astronaut shared that they just finished growing lettuce on the spacecraft and said it tasted “pretty regular.” 

“The opportunity to speak with someone on the ISS, especially one of the women who was able to go on the first all-female spacewalk, was really exciting to me,” said Julia. She went on to say, “I think what humans are able to do, in terms of living in space, is astonishing. I’ve always been really interested in space travel and what else is out in the universe, especially with the upcoming spaceships that are going to be sent to Mars. I’ve never wanted to become an astronaut or go into that field necessarily, but I think it’s really interesting.”

Maya expressed a similar sentiment: “Space is really interesting to me. I love learning about things I don’t know much about. With space, there’s always something new to learn.”

Both Maya and Julia conveyed how excited they were to learn that the ISS is going to harvest New Mexico chile peppers. Maya said, “I wonder if I could be one of those people to try and roast chile in space when the time comes with advanced technology.”

They both also expressed their enthusiasm about being a part of The Children’s Hour. Maya said, “I’m interested in learning more about everything, and The Children’s Hour helps me do that.” They were thankful for the opportunities that they’ve had through the program and are looking forward to being involved in many more.