Astronaut Carl Branson recently spent two months on the International Space Station and returned home on a Space Shuttle Endeavor mission. The former Air Force test pilot and Major recently visited Longhorn, Texas and spoke to Ms. Roberts fourth grade science class about his adventures in outer space.
Branson once attended Longhorn elementary as a child when his father worked at the railyards. A picture of him was unveiled in the entrance to the school and the mayor presented him with a key to the city.
Following are some of the questions, and his answers, from his visit at the elementary school:
David: "Did you get to meet JarJar or Yoda?"
Branson: "No, but I did get to shake hands with the President afterwards, and he asked me the same question."
Cindy: "Did that crazy lady astronaut try to kill anyone in your family?"
Branson: "Why do you think I was hiding out in space? No one ever proved that condom was mine!"
Harry: "What happens when you fart in space? Do you rocket forward?"
Branson: "It depends on whether or not it is one of those little, seeping out farts, the rat-a-tat-tat farts, an gastronomic explosion, or just your average left cheek squeak. Each kind will move you forward a different amount. That's why we don't have to eat beans, eggs, or broccolli in outer space."
Brianna: "How come space suits only come in white? You went up in October, and everyone knows that you don't wear white after Labor Day."
Branson: "Our suits are designed to be seen against the dark background. Our jumpsuits for inside, however, are blue. I also know from personal experience that Cosmonaut Svetlana Petroski from Russia didn't wear anything white and had black underclothing."
Eric: "So what did you do up there all day long?"
Branson: "Petroski and I spent a lot of time building international relations."
Bobby: "Did you have any accidents in space?"
Branson: "Well, when it takes you thirty minutes to take off your suit and you really have to go, sometimes things just are not in your control."
Susan: "Why did your space ship land so late at night?"
Branson: "Traffic up there can be a real bitch sometimes."
Timmy: "Could you see your house?"
Branson: "I live in an apartment building. Even using the on board telescope, I couldn't see the girls out by the pool."
Wong Li: "If it is the atmosphere of the earth that causes us to see the sun as yellow, what color does it appear from space without that atmospheric disturbance?"
Branson: "Bright. It's color was real burn the lenses out of your eyes if you look at it bright."
Tammy: "Do you have any kind of fan club or anything?"
Branson: "Well, in the Air Force, I was a member of the Mile High Club. Now, I'm in the Zero G club. If you want to start a fan club for me, make sure and send an invitation to that cute English teacher down the hall. I'd like to put her in orbit!"
Cindy: "Did you bring back any moon rocks?"
Branson: "The closest thing I got to the moon was when Petroski bent over in front of the control panel, and that was a wonderous sight."
Brad: "Did you guys really drink Tang in outer space?
Branson: "Not for the first couple of weeks. If you let it ferment, however, Tang eventually can turn into a decent moonshine and it makes the trip go by a lot smoother."