A group of students from Des Moines made a really long, long distance phone call today.Using an audio and video connection at the Science Center of Iowa, the students were able to see and ask questions of Mount Ayr native Peggy Whitson and two Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station orbiting the earth. Whitson said floating in weightlessness is the best thing about being in space, and she showed kids how astronauts eat.She says they use a special table with bungee chords and velcro to hold down the food. Whitson says half the food is from Russia, half from the U-S — with some in cans and some in bags to which they add hot water. Students stared in awe at the video screen as Whitson demonstrated the effects of weightlessness on liquid. She blew a large yellow ball of lemonade across the space station lab before gobbling it up out of midair. Whitson says the weightlessness also impacts a person’s body.Whitson says the liquid in her body was drawn up and her face was puffy for a few days, and she also had back pain because of the effects on the fluid in her spine. Whitson was asked what she’d like to see changed on the space station.She says she’d like to see a separate module for living and entertainment, apart from the working area. The current sleeping and eating areas are located among the scientific equipment and experiments.
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