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Rancho Verde in Apple Valley selected to host an interview with Nasa Astronaut

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APPLE VALLEY, Calif. — NASA has selected Rancho Verde Elementary School to host an In-Flight Education Downlink on February 13, 2020.

The Downlink is a chance for students to have a question and answer session with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. These Downlinks are intended to go along with curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as encourage students to pursue careers in these fields.

On the morning of February 13th, all 700 Rancho Verde students will walk over to Granite Hills High School’s gym. The high school gym is equipped to host the volume of people that will be attending the event. There is also new, up-to-date technology that will be beneficial in making sure that everything goes smoothly during the Downlink. 

Rancho Verde students will be speaking to either Drew Morgan or Jessica Meir. These astronauts are part of the Expedition 62 crew. Drew Morgan graduated from the US Military Academy and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Morgan describes himself as “a soldier, a physician, and an astronaut.” He was selected to NASA’s 21st group of astronauts and serves as a flight engineer for Expeditions 60, 61, and 62. Jessica Meir is a graduate of Brown University, International Space University, and UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Meir was also selected to NASA’s 21st group of astronauts and is on her first spaceflight. She recently completed the first all female spacewalk. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for our local students to learn about space from American astronauts who are living the experience on the International Space Station,” said Congressman Paul Cook, who authored a letter supporting the selection of Rancho Verde Elementary School. “As a former educator, I’m proud to have supported Rancho Verde in its application to host this interview, and I hope it will leave a lasting impact on the students.”

Before the downlink begins, Hitt Plumbing and High Desert Hydroponics will be there to speak to the students about their fields of work and how their jobs would be different if they were in space. 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that our students will be able to remember when they are adults. I am very excited for them to have this experience and cultivate excitement for learning about space,” said Principal Joe Cranston. In preparation for this event, Rancho Verde came up with curriculum, activities, and units that relate to space. Coincidentally, Toy Story is Rancho Verde’s school theme this year, with Buzz Lightyear being a key character on campus. 

NASA TV will be streaming a live video of the In-Flight Downlink on their website. To tune in, click this link: www.nasa.gov/nasatv

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