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NASA Lands at International School of Beijing

November, 2013
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On 26 September Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.), Administrator of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), paid an inspirational visit to the International School of Beijing. In a twenty-minute address to 2,500 students, teachers and parents from ISB and three other local schools, Administrator Bolden captivated the audience. He talked about NASA’s overall mission, which is to find the answers to two enormous questions – ‘How did life on Earth begin?’ and ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ He filled his inspiring talk with moment-by-moment descriptions of a space shuttle flight, weaving in messages about peace and environmental conservation and peppering his descriptions with sound effects and dramatic gestures.

The audience members could feel the engines bursting into life at take-off, sense the isolation and the routine of working on the Space Station, and gain perspective on the Earth as seen from afar. He suggested that space can unite people; that seeing the planet as a whole, rather than divided up into countries or continents, could inspire people to come together in caring for our planet.

After Administrator Bolden’s presentation, a lengthier question-and-answer session followed, and the students were brimming with questions. His final message to the assembled students was a quotation from Nkosi Johnson: “Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.” An excellent message – for astronauts, aliens, and all of us at home on Earth.



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