Twelve Year Olds Asked, & Hoot Gibson Answered!
Updated: Aug 16
At Flight, we are passionate about all things aviation and space related, our name is FLIGHT afterall! We asked ten twelve year olds if they could ask a real live astronaut a question, what would it be? We received some GREAT questions, please see their questions and answers by former NASA astronaut Captain Hoot Gibson below:
Question 1: How high can you jump when you are on the moon?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: The moon’s gravity is only 1/6 of earth’s gravity, so theoretically you can jump 6 times higher than here on earth! You would need to have on a bulky, heavy spacesuit though, so you probably can’t quite reach 6 times as high.
Question 2: Can you see planets closer when you are in space?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: You can’t really see them closer from earth orbit because you are only about 200 miles closer from orbit, and they are so very far away. You can see them a little more clearly though because you aren’t looking through all of earth’s air since we are above the earth’s air.
Question 3: Are rocket ships as fast as airplanes?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: Rocket ships are much faster than airplanes! The fastest airplane ever could fly at just over Mach 3 (3 times the speed of sound), and the Space Shuttle flew at Mach 25! That is more than 8 times faster than the fastest airplane ever.
Question 4: Can you take your helmet off in the spacecraft?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: Yes, you can take off your helmet in the spacecraft. We always wore our helmets and spacesuits for the launch and for the reentry and landing, but took them off once we were safely in orbit.
Question 5: What does the food taste like?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: The food on the Space Shuttle and on the International Space Station was very good! It tastes just like food down here on the earth. NASA put a lot of effort into making good food for astronauts.
Question 6: In your words, what did the earth look like from space?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: The earth from orbit is a beautiful blue ball in space! More than 70% of our earth is covered by ocean, so it is mostly all blue. The clouds add white to everything, so it is really pretty. The land masses are a combination of brown deserts and beautiful green forests and jungles, so it is such a treat to watch our earth from space!
Question 7: Can you see cities from space?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: Yes we can see cities from space. The only parts of earth that look gray or silver in the daytime are our cities. At night, cities stand out even more because of all the lights that are on. Earth is a beautiful place at night because of cities!
Question 8: What was your biggest fear going into space?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: It is so exciting going to space that your biggest fear is that something will stop me from launching today! We worry that there will be a spacecraft malfunction or that weather might move in and we won’t be able to go today. That is your biggest fear.
Question 9: How big was your spacecraft?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: My Space Shuttles were 184 feet long and weighed 4 ½ million pounds at liftoff! The Shuttle orbiter was the only part to go into orbit and it would be about 250,000 pounds in weight when it arrived in orbit.
Question 10: What do you think of the Artemis’s launch series and what do you think will be discovered?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: I am fascinated by the Artemis program! We will be going back to the moon to establish a base there at the south pole, and we expect to discover a lot of ice at the south pole. Ice will be very useful because we can get water from it, and we can make rocket fuel from ice by separating it into hydrogen and oxygen. Eventually Artemis will take astronauts to Mars and there will be so much to discover there!
Question 11: Did the moon look like a giant rock?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: Yes the moon did look like a giant rock because it is a giant rock. There is no vegetation so everything we see is rock and dust.
Question 12: Were there holes in the surface of the moon that were really big?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: There are giant holes in the moon’s surface that are called craters and resulted from impacts by meteors over a great many thousands of years.
Question 13: What was your favorite thing about going into space?
Hoot Gibson's Answer: The most favorite part of going to space was being able to fly in weightless conditions! We didn’t have to walk anywhere, we could simply fly across the spacecraft from one point to another. Also the view of the earth was spectacular!