Puerto Rican astronaut reaches out to island's schoolkids

In this image from video made available by NASA, astronaut Joe Acaba, right, aboard the International Space Station, takes questions from students at the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday, Jan 12, 2018. One student asked how Puerto Rico looked from space after Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017. Acaba says the first thing he noticed was the lack of electricity, making the island almost impossible to see at night. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage reached out Friday to schoolchildren on the hurricane-bashed island.

Flying aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Joe Acaba fielded questions from students at the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics in Manati. One student asked how Puerto Rico looked from space after Hurricane Maria struck in September. Acaba said the first thing he noticed was the lack of lights, making the island almost impossible to see at night.

A boy noted that after the hurricane, it was difficult for some Puerto Ricans to eat given the limited variety of available food. Does Acaba find the limited space menu tough to swallow?

The menu, while pretty good, repeats every week or two and does get monotonous, Acaba said. Of course, he said it doesn't compare to such Puerto Rican specialties as pasteles, stuffed meat pastries wrapped in banana leaves popular around Christmas, and rice with pigeon peas and pork.

"I'm ready to get home and have a great meal," he said.

Acaba, a former school teacher, is supposed to return to Earth at the end of February. He arrived at the space station a week before Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, already reeling from Hurricane Irma.

The astronaut's parents were from Hatillo, Puerto Rico, and moved to the U.S. He was born in Southern California and grew up there, but has lots of relatives still in the U.S. territory.

Technical difficulties with the institute's Skype connection ate up nine minutes of the 23-minute conversation. Acaba switched between English and Spanish in answering students' questions, ranging from his experience as a teacher to daily life aboard the orbiting outpost. He assured the students that the drinking water — recycled from the six-man crew's urine — actually tastes great and is as natural as it gets. As for sleeping, he said he's getting some of the best sleep of his life.

The students were brought to the institute from across Puerto Rico for the event.

Selected by NASA in 2004, Acaba remains the space agency's only astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage.


AP reporter Danica Coto contributed to this report from Puerto Rico.



NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Must Read

'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's...

May 11, 2017

China's plan to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade across Asia...

China's fondness for pirated software raises...

May 16, 2017

China's fondness for pirated software left it especially vulnerable to the latest global cyberattack

China's Xi says willing to help end rift with...

May 19, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he's willing to help ties with South Korea return to a...

Computer wins 2nd game against Chinese go champion

May 25, 2017

A computer that plays go has won a second game against China's top player in a match authorities...

Liu Xiaobo supporters mark his death amid...

Jul 19, 2017

Supporters of Liu Xiaobo are gathering worldwide to mark the traditional Chinese observance of the...

People also read these

China tries to reassure foreign companies over...

Mar 11, 2017

China's industry minister has defended a manufacturing development plan and rejected complaints...

China affirms climate pledge after Trump rolls...

Mar 29, 2017

China's government says it will stick to its promises to curb carbon emissions after President...

Trade groups appeal to Beijing to postpone...

May 15, 2017

Global business groups asked China to postpone enforcing a cybersecurity law they say violates its...

Wasted green power tests China's energy leadership

Jun 5, 2017

China's scramble to curb pollution has made it the world leader in renewable energy development,...

The Latest: US wants Liu to be able to choose...

Jul 13, 2017

U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to allow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH

About Us

RedShiftDaily was started out of fascination with mankind discoveries through peering out into the cosmos. Our team of enthusiasts are going to deliver only the best and latest progress in space technology and discovery so you too can share in the excitement.

Contact us: sales@redshiftdaily.com