Rialto students chat with NASA astronauts live from space

Photos Office of Norma Torres: NASA astronauts Victor J. Glover and Dr. Shannon Walker answering questions from students across the southland, including Rialto Unified School District.

On March 18, students from Dunn Elementary and Rialto Middle schools had the opportunity to chat with National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts live from space, through “Reach for the Stars,” a townhall coordinated by Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35). Six other school districts participated in the event including Pomona Unified, Ontario-Montclair, Chaffey Joint Union, Claremont Unified, Mountain View Unified, and Fontana Unified.

The live virtual event drew in over 1,100 participants and was led by astronauts Victor J. Glover, Commander, U.S. Navy, from Pomona and Dr. Shannon Walker, live from the International Space Station as they orbited the Earth about 250 miles overhead. 

Dunn Elementary School student Frankie asking the NASA astronauts if germs grow faster in space due to microgravity.

A few students in particular, from Rialto School District, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask the astronauts a question, live during the half-hour town-hall. 

Rialto Middle School student Emily, asked, “ What happens to the astronaut once they return to space, do you have any health problems or things you need to readjust to?”

Glover responder, “That’s a really good question. We’re up here in micro-gravity where we’re able to float around and so when we get back to earth we have to get used to gravity again…so our balance can be affected. We have to get re-acquainted to the pull of gravity each time.” 

Another Rialto local, Frankie from Dunn Elementary school asked Glover and Walker if germs spread at the same rate as they do on earth, or if microgravity affects the rate of growth?

The pair of astronauts explained to Frankie that his question was very good, but they did not have an answer for him. 

Overall, grateful students from seven local school districts were attentive and quite inquisitive with their questions, making their hometowns proud. 

“Astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker are proof to kids across the Inland Empire that they too can make big dreams a reality,” Rep. Norma J. Torres said. “After a year of remote learning that has created new challenges for students and teachers alike, nothing could be more important than to encourage our youth to set their sights high. I thank Commander Glover, Dr. Walker and NASA for making this once-in-a-lifetime conversation a reality for our students.”