A Video Conferencing Space Adventure
By Nina Parker
May 19, 2008
There was a short delay after an elementary school student asked Expedition 17 astronaut Garrett Reisman,"What do you talk about on the ISS?" When the answer came a few moments later (work, training, and family), a live question and answer session between participants on Earth and the International Space Station had begun.
Students and educators gathered at the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center in New York and at the Valley Christian Elementary School in California to take part in a 20 minute, multi-point video conference call with the ISS. The event was coordinated by NASA's Johnson Space Center via satellite, while the simultaneous New York–California (coast to coast) event was made possible with a TANDBERG video conferencing solution provided by industry expert IVCi. The event was made accessible to viewers nationwide via a streaming video link on the NASA web site.
In addition to having their questions answered by Mr. Reisman, the children were given a live demonstration of the effect of microgravity; the astronaut performed a somersault in mid-air, and effortlessly lifted an 80-pound container of water.
Neme Alperstein, Richmond Hill's Technology Program Administrator, believes in the power of video conferencing to take students to places they may otherwise never see first hand. "Students come here to participate in video conferences, so the children are very familiar with the technology. They did their research and were prepared when they spoke with the astronaut. Video conferencing is very interactive, and it enhances the children's learning. I don't think it's the future, I think it's the present."
NASA runs programs like this in-flight educational session to inspire students to study science and explore the possibility of a career in space exploration. Judging by the students' reactions, the event made an impact. "It is great to talk to an actual astronaut - it feels amazing," remarked one student. "It's like an adventure!"
For additional information regarding video conferencing call 1-800-224-7083, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.