Astronaut Andrew Morgan took a 272-day trip to the International Space Station (ISS). He conducted seven spacewalks and orbited the Earth 4,352 times before returning on April 17. Morgan talked with TFK Kid Reporters Henry Carroll, Priscilla L. Ho, and Mira McInnes.
1. Priscilla: “What was it like to return to Earth, with all the COVID-19–related restrictions?”
Within 24 hours of landing in Kazakhstan, I was back in Houston, Texas. Now I’m in a quarantine facility at Johnson Space Center. They’re running tests to make sure my immune system is healthy enough for me to go home to my family.
2. Henry: “Did you follow the news from space?”
I sure did. My two crewmates and I watched streaming news and taped news reports. We knew the Earth would change while we were away. But this was more dramatic than we expected.
3. Mira: “Was it hard being away from family?”
We could make phone calls or do video chats. I spoke to my wife and kids almost every day. I’m also a military officer. I was deployed overseas and have been separated from my family before. So it wasn’t new to me.
4. Priscilla: “What do ISS crews talk about?”
On the ISS, we captured visiting vehicles and unloaded cargo. We did spacewalks and science experiments. There was a lot to talk about.
THUMBS-UP On April 17, Morgan greets photographers after landing in Kazakhstan.
5. Henry: “What’s the most interesting thing you observed while in space?”
I’d say it was the Earth. There are windows on the ISS that are pointed toward Earth so we can make observations. We also see phenomena around the Earth—the aurora borealis, the moon and stars.
6. Henry: “Any surprises upon returning home?”
Earth still feels the same, even though it is facing a global crisis. It was beautiful from above, and it’s beautiful, still, on the ground. It is still worth returning to.
7. Mira: “After 272 days in space, how would you advise kids who find social distancing hard?”
It’s hard to imagine that life will ever be normal again. But as a nation, as a planet, we have endured tough times before. We’ll get to the other side of this, and life will feel normal again.
8. Priscilla: “What message do you have for kids?”
When we looked down from the ISS, we saw an Earth without borders. There are problems that affect us all equally, in spite of borders. COVID-19 is just one of them. Just as we do on the ISS, we can work together as nations to solve those problems.