NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some New York City school kids had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Monday.
Though they may currently be traveling more than 17,000 mph through space, two astronauts based out of the International Space Station took a few minutes out of their day to video chat with hundreds of young adults.
“Has NASA made any strides in the colonization of the moon since Neil Armstrong’s mission?” an explorer named “Chelsea” asked the astronauts.
It was done through a NASA program that aims to teach the youth about space exploration.
“These kind of experiences I think can be life-changing at times, and if not that, it certainly can be educational and a wonderful experience,” said NASA astronaut Mike Massimino.
NYPD officers say they applied to host the program months ago, CBS2’s Nina Kapur reported. After a lengthy process, they were finally approved, giving more than 550 explorers an opportunity to ask the astronauts question, live.
“My question for you is: How do you stay healthy in space? Do you exercise?” one Explorer asked.
The event is usually held in schools, making the NYPD the first law enforcement agency in the country to take part.
“I wanted to see if maybe we could challenge our kids and do a little something different with science,” said Bruno Gentile of the NYPD.
Through the satellite link, explorers also got a firsthand look inside a spacecraft, and at how a lack of gravity can affect the body.
“It was an amazing experience. Never I would’ve ever expected to be able to talk to astronauts in outer space,” said Explorer Douglas Levy.
“I thought it was so inspiring to all us young people because it showed us persistence and hard work is key,” said NYPD Explorer Brianna Garcia.
Though not everyone in attendance wants to be an astronaut, they all say it was an experience they’ll remember forever.
The NYPD Explorers program provides young people with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. The program is geared for ages 14-20.
For more information, click here or call 1 (718) 312-4471.