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NASA Astronaut wants to inspire new astronauts from Delaware

Jeanette Epps participates in an ISS training with Koichi Wakata

A NASA astronaut answered questions about the future missions to the moon and encouraged young students to join the field.


Astronaut Jeanette Epps joined NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in inspiring young Delaware students to envision playing a role in future missions to the moon and beyond.


Epps will be one of the first astronauts to use the new Boeing Starliner on a mission to the International Space Station next year.


She talked about her unconventional path to becoming an astronaut, and says anyone can join those ranks.


“I wanted to make sure that you guys understand that you are the Artemis generation. There are so many ways to participate in getting us back to the moon, staying on the moon and then eventually to Mars.”


Bridenstine says he wants to be the last NASA administrator to not have people on the moon permanently.


Students asked about astronauts’ mental health, and how they stay connected with family. Epps says she says it’s similar to coping during the COVID-19 pandemic - the many ways people communicate now are how astronauts talk to their families on earth.


She says the most important part is building strong relationships with crewmates while having some time to yourself on missions.


Epps adds this is why some training is in the extreme wilderness, caves underground, and even underwater. They’re all designed to build relationships and improve communication.


She says her training in extreme environments has not only prepared her for this mission, but also for the Coronavirus pandemic.


“And so quarantining is kinda the same. I mean, I think a lot of people are quarantined with other people and then their only way to the world in some cases is through Zoom, through Teams, through WebEx. And we have these cameras and we talk to each other through this way and even on orbit this is how we can communicate with our family back here on Earth.”


Bridenstine says that Epps is one of the astronauts considered to head to the moon in 2024. He says NASA is not only going back to the moon, but taking the first woman there.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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