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Nick Trivisonno, 12
Sarasota Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 7 years ago


by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

The Out-of-Door Academy’s sixth-graders are spending Thursday and Friday touring the Kennedy Space Center. Along with their teacher, Pamela Davis, they’ll be catching some shuteye with the Saturn V rocket hanging above them during a school slumber party.

Before trekking off on their private tour, the students have been studying different components of space. They read the book, “Do Your Ears Pop in Space,” by astronaut Mike Mullane, who they got a chance to Skype with this week. In addition, they watched the movie, “From Earth to Moon,” for geography, and in math, they made a solar-system chart of planets.

Nick Trivisonno, 12
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about space?
All of the pressure that’s put on everyone there — think of the strain it must take for the flight director to make those split decisions to save seven lives. I would never want to have that pressure. The training is out-of-this world and how they have to make sure they are completely healthy, that nothing is wrong with them and there’s nothing later that will go wrong. They’re not going to stop a $2 billion mission because one guy broke his arm.

What was it like to Skype with an astronaut?
He seemed to be so happy that he was out of the spaceship. He had mixed feelings of going, like he was sitting on a time bomb, hoping it wouldn’t go off. I found it funny that he had to bring Windex because there would be nose prints on the windows from people looking down at earth.

Would you like to be an astronaut?
I think if you would ever go into space, you’d want to do it as many times as you could, even though all of that stress is put on you to get the research and find out if there are aliens on Mars.

What excites you most about visiting Kennedy Space Center?
I’m most looking forward to meeting an astronaut — just being able to see how happy they were, the face of achievement and bragging rights, of course. And to learn — I’ve always been interested in what’s beyond and how all of it really connects.

Kennedy Hunter, 12
What’s the coolest thing you learned about space?
If you’re drinking water and let some go, it will turn into a ball in space. You need to be careful with it because it could go into technical areas.

What was it like to Skype with an astronaut?
We are reading the book “Do Your Ears Pop In Space?” and got to Skype with the author (and astronaut) Mike Mullane. We got to ask him questions like, “What happens if there are fires in space?” He said you would incinerate completely and that this happened on one of the second missions going up. He also told us the freeze-dried food isn’t so good, so you’re allowed to bring candy. He eats M&Ms while they’re floating in the air.

What are you most excited about for your Kennedy Space Center visit?
I think it’s going to be sleeping under the Saturn V rocket.

Joey Runge, 12
What’s the coolest thing you learned about space?
I learned a lot about the differences between Earth and space — gravity and how there’s a lot less out there. Space has pretty much no air.

What was it like to Skype with an astronaut?
When we sat with the astronaut, he gave us a lot of details. He said that if you light a match in space, it would turn into a ball of flames. That’s pretty interesting.

What are you most excited about for your Kennedy Space Center visit?
Sleeping under Saturn V rocket because it was actually out there in orbit.

McCabe Ballance, 12
Would you like to be an astronaut?
At first, it sounded really cool, but after reading the book and talking to him (Mullane), it sounded a lot scarier than I expected it to be. Living in a 100-square-foot vicinity for up to two weeks with no shower would be absolutely horrible. Every little kid’s dream is to be an astronaut, but after reading that, they would change their mind.

What was the most interesting fact you learned?
How dangerous space is in general and how hot it is up there. The heat shields in the windows have to withstand 12,000 degrees.

What are you most excited about for your Kennedy Space Center visit?
The simulator of the shuttle. For my birthday present once, I got to fly a plane, and it was one of the best presents ever.

Hailey Schlotthauer, 11
What did you learn about space?
Space is a lot scarier than it looks. I asked whether traveling is scarier going to or coming back from space, and the astronaut said it’s scarier going to space because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. I didn’t know that once in orbit, the shuttle had to travel upside down. It sounds like there’s life on other planets. He said UFO sightings probably don’t exist — when they dump out the urine from the space shuttle, that’s what they think people are seeing.

What was it like Skyping with the astronaut?
The astronaut we talked to worked with for NASA 12 years and only went into space three times. The rest of the time, he was training. He said there weren’t too many mental tests, but physical (tests) and the shuttle itself. If the spaceship gets a leak or crack, there’s training for what you have to do in that situation. There’s one physical test — if you’re in shape and your heart is still beating.

Do you want to be an astronaut?
I want to be an astronaut, but it sounds technical and hard to do it; you have to really understand all of it. I’ve always wanted to see the view from the moon, and I like looking at star constellations.

What are you most excited about for your Kennedy Space Center visit?
I’ve never been to the space center, so everything excites me. Sleeping underneath the rocket will be really fun. They showed the statue of liberty and the rocket and how much bigger the rocket is. I always have this thought it’s going to fall on me.

Emma Young, 12
What’s your opinion of space?
It seems so difficult to go up into space. There’s so much training you have to do and so much preparation. And dealing with weightlessness — you have to have special sleeping bags that are weighted down and there are many changes that you have to adapt to. You can’t eat a normal meal without floating or expanding.

What was it like Skyping with the astronaut?
It was really eventful. He told us more than his book explained and more details of how you live in space. He seemed very enthusiastic about his experiences. He was amazed to see us all excited, to talk to us and ask questions. He rated the fear factor on a one-to-10 scale and rated the takeoff as a 12 and the landing a 3.

What did he say that most interested you?
He trained for 12 years to become an astronaut. He did one space walk, where he got out and walked around the space hip to look for any damages.

What are you most excited about for your Kennedy Space Center visit?
Seeing a spaceship that actually went into space.

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