Some Laramie students will receive the call of a lifetime tomorrow morning - straight from the celestial reaches of Outer Space.

No, E.T. isn't calling to check in on Wyoming. It's a call from astronaut Steve Bowen, who happens to be floating aboard the International Space Station (I.S.S.) these days.

Stephen (Steve) Bowen is the Flight Engineer for Expedition 68. Bowen "was the first Submarine Officer to be selected as an astronaut by NASA." He has been to space on numerous missions, including launching "the International Space Station as Commander of NASA's SpaceX Crew-6 mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on March 2, 2023," to join the Expedition 68 crew. He is currently stationed on the I.S.S. as part of that mission. (Explore Stephen's biography by clicking here.)

Bowen will answer questions the students sent as part of a project with the Laramie Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in partnership with the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium.

Q&A From Space - Laramie Students Interview an Astronaut

Bowen's Q&A session is doubly special for Wyoming students. Not only is Bowen a certified astronaut - space suit and all - but it takes considerable work to assemble such a project. After all, it takes a lot of work to call from outer space. After all... it's a very long-distance call. According to NASA, even with current technology, phone calls from the I.S.S. have a 1-second lag.

The phone call also represents the first Earth-to-space call. The students will experience history in the making!

Today, astronauts aboard the International Space Station use the "softphone" method to make phone calls from outer space. NASA breaks down how such a long-distance transmission works:

"Softphone works through the laptop computers astronauts use on the International Space Station (I.S.S.)...They speak through a headset with a microphone, and the signal is sent up to 144,810 kilometers (90,000 miles) by way of a communications satellite. That long distance can mean there is a time lag of up to 1 second in conversations.
Standard IP phone systems would disconnect with such a delay, so the Softphone astronaut's use is modified to accommodate this."

Now that is some out-of-this-world technology (literally!)

The students at Big Brothers and Big Sisters sent in their questions ahead of time and will receive their answers at the University of Wyoming tomorrow at 8:25 a.m. Mountain Time. A link to the video will go live on NASA's website and in the NASA app.

Find more information on the history-making event by clicking here.

What Is The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium?

The Wyoming Nasa Space Grant Consortium is a bridge between NASA and Wyoming citizens. The program sponsors education and research programs in the Equality State that provide and develop STEM resources for students and teachers, in addition to funding scholarships, research, and other programs. Find out more about the program by clicking here.

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