It was a homecoming of sorts because Meir received her doctorate in marine biology at Scripps.
Students watched wide-eyed as Meir floated on the screen, a Scripps Oceanogrpahy banner hanging above her, as the station orbited 250 miles above the earth. They laughed as she set her wireless microphone twirling in front of her in the weightless environment.
One student asked whether the launch on a Russian rocket was scary.
“I wan’t afraid actually, because we received such incredible training at NASA,” said Meir. “I had been through that so many times on the simulator, I had to remind myself this was actually real.”
She said one of the hardest challenges in space is “having your brain learn that ‘down’ doesn’t mean anything.” She said every object has to be attached somewhere to prevent it from floating away.
Mier said her spacewalk, during which there was “nothing between you and the earth,” has been the highlight of the mission so far.
Several students asked if she had to overcome obstacles to pursue her career as a scientist and astronaut, and she described how she failed to be chosen as an astronaut on her first attempt.
“I could have given up then, but I didn’t,” she told the students. “No matter how many obstacles are in your way, you need to learn to persevere.”
Meir is due to return to Earth in the spring.
The “STEM to Stars” event was supported by Birch Aquarium’s Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: