WISE, Va. - If you had the opportunity to ask an astronaut aboard the International Space Station a question, what would it be?
Some lucky students in Wise County, Virginia will get that chance at the end of the month.In a place so focused on space, these local rocket boys and girls cannot wait for that out of this world conversation.
High above our snowy landscape, the International Space Station zoooms along overhead about every 90 minutes.
Wise Central High School senior Heather Lee plots it's course from the headquarters of the county's Nasa develop program in the basement of the courthouse.We last visited the program during the last space shuttle mission and now students, and the whole town of Wise are preparing for a live downlink conversation with space station crew at month's end.
"It's been about a year. We first started about this time last year contacting the Nasa Teaching in Space office in Houston and from that we put together a three part application," Circuit Court Clerk Jack Kennedy who is also on the Commonwealth's Spaceflight Authority said.
And it was a success. On the 26th the University of Virginia's College at Wise will be the site where students can talk live to the space station.
"It's crazy. I would have never expected to have this opportunity and I'm also, I have the opportunity to come up with a question to ask a astronaut so I've been doing research for what question to ask them," Central Senior Heather Lee said.
Considering the students experiences with their own rocket program and earth science research, no doubt they'll have plenty of questions.
"We have a new generation of very bright and talented young people in Southwest Virginia now and want to have the opportunity to have the door opened, given a little nudge and they'll do it," Kennedy says.
The talk with the space station is more than just a little nudge, it may be their leap into a whole new world.