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Assam students chat with astronaut on board ISS

By K Anurag in Guwahati
January 07, 2009 19:15 IST
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Students of the Asom Jatiya Vidyalaya in Guwahati on Wednesday had a memorable telephonic conversation with Edward Michael Fincke, the commander of the International Space Station, which is located 350 kilometers above the earth's surface.

Over a thousand students and their parents had gathered at the school premises to witness the rare event. During the 10-minute call, which began at 1.31 pm, Fincke fielded questions ranging from his daily schedule at the ISS to his research work. He gave the enthusiastic students several insights into the food habits and water management at the zero gravity environment.

The highlight of the students' interaction with the astronaut came when Dhrubajyoti, a class X student, asked him if he could speak in Assamese. Fincke, who is married to Renita Saikia, an Assamese working at the NASA station at Houston, retorted, "Moi alap alap Asomiya Kobo paro (I can speak little bit of Assamese)."

Fincke told the students that he is utilising his free time at the ISS by learning Assamese with the help of Flash Cards.

"It was an opportunity of a lifetime, which I will always cherish," said one of the students.

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K Anurag in Guwahati