Astronauts inspire young minds during Q&A in San Fernando Valley

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (KABC) -- Astronauts aboard the International Space Station spoke with students in the San Fernando Valley Tuesday, possibly planting seeds for future careers in space.

Dozens of students in Pacoima and San Fernando gathered for a question-and-answer session with Expedition 55 astronauts and former teachers Ricky Arnold and Scott Tingle.

"There's just something I think much more substantial about being able to engage with the astronauts directly," said Brandon Rodriguez, the education specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

Arnold and Tingle answered questions from the students ranging from funding, to women in science, and everything in between.

"We had hundreds of questions to go through, and there were some tough choices we had to make. Of course, a good 10 percent of the questions were just, 'How do you pee in space?' So those kind of get the ax quickly," Rodriguez said.

The curious minds were impressed with what they saw and heard.

"You could see the little ones excited, you could see ourselves, seniors too. We were like really, really happy about all this. It's really inspiring," said Guillermo Fernandez, a high school senior.

Many proud parents watched as their children stepped up to the mic.

"It was just an honor to be able to be invited to come see her talk to people in NASA," said Gerardo Andrad, a parent.

Tuesday' 20-minute conversation may have planted a seed for future astronauts

Young Alyla Valdez said after the event, she now wants to be an astronaut when she grows up.
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