Thousands of schoolchildren are tackling physical and mental activities in the Mission-X: Train Like an Astronaut challenge that began a six-week programme on Monday to encourage kids to be fit and eat well.
European astronaut André Kuipers signalled the start for participants aged 8–12 joining from over 20 countries during a live webcast from ESA’s ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands.
“It is very important for children to have an energetic lifestyle. I always advise them to stay healthy and study hard to become the explorers of the future,” said André, last year’s Mission-X ambassador from the International Space Station.
André answered dozens of questions from students at ESTEC and via Twitter. From Colombia to Spain, from Japan to the Netherlands, students asked about space food, the calories that astronauts need per day and what it feels like to be weightless.
The Mission-X challenge features training modules and healthy activities inspired by those used by astronauts during their spaceflights.
Let’s Climb a Martian Mountain, Do a Spacewalk or Get on your Space Cycle are some of the activities designed to get children moving. Kids are also experiencing hands-on science and learning about nutrition.
Do not give up
“If you do not use your bones and muscles, you will lose your strength. Keep exercising and do not stop training – astronauts never give up,” said André.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, the next European to fly to the Space Station, is also part of this competition. He is encouraging children to work with each other and earn points to send Mission-X mascot Astro Charlie to the Moon.
Do you want to know what does space smells like? What happens if you sneeze in a spacecraft? Does food taste differently? Watch the replay to hear André’s answers to these questions and many more during the international launch event of Mission-X 2013.