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"Every day is a good day when you float": Anne McClain talks about life in space

What are you eating in space? How do you sleep in the universe?

And what do you do all day in space?

Georgetown Day School children in Washington DC recently had the opportunity to ask NASA astronaut Anne McClain their burning questions

They are about the same age as McClain when she announced on her first day at preschool that she wanted to become an astronaut.

When McClain was about five years old, she wrote that she had written a book about flying the Soyuz vehicle into space. Now she floats on the International Space Station and shows that sometimes childhood dreams come true.

"When you're finally in space and you finally look back to Earth and see it for the first time in your life, there's nothing. If you're between you and your dream, it's so hard to describe the implications McClain, today 39, said Lulu Garcia-Navarro of NPR.

During the interview, McClain flew the world a quarter of the way around. Every day she flies 1

6 times around the world and sees every 45 minutes a sunrise and sunset. But by a long shot, she said she preferred to watch the moon.

"I like to see that I am surprised how the moon rises and the moon moves as fast as if it were jumping off the horizon and over us," she said.

When McClain answered Garcia-Navarro's questions, she watched a classroom with children watching her on NASA TV. According to McClain, astronauts often try to do floating tricks, for example, to see how far they can fly without hitting the walls. Sometimes she likes to work upside down.

"Every day is a good day when you float," she said. "Your whole life you wander around the earth and then suddenly you fly as you have dreamed."

Then it was the children's turn to interview McClain. The first question was about a five-year-old girl who asked, "What are you eating and what is your favorite food?"

There are two types of food bags that fly into space with astronauts, McClain explained. One is shelf stabilized food that can be easily opened, spooned and eaten. The second type of bag is for dried foods that are rehydrated in space, McClain said. There is no shortage of options for both types of food. McClain's favorite dishes include chicken with peanut sauce, chicken fajitas, mushroom soup and turkey tetrazzini.

"I think we have over 100 different types of food," she said. "They try to keep it, so that the food here is not too boring for us."

Next, a child wanted to know how it slept.

"They somehow float in your sleeping bag and and and you attach your sleeping bag to the wall," McClain replied. "Then our arms float up somehow, so we look a bit like zombies."

Overall, she said she sleeps six or seven hours a night, less than normal on Earth, but that's not because of any inconvenience.

"I think when I wake up in the morning, I'm so excited that I'm up and out in space, just starting my day and getting started," McClain said.

In a totally different star environment, McClain relies on thousands of people in various space agencies to protect them. The experience is humble and profound.

"I'll probably spend the rest of my life finding the right words to describe it," she said.

For her young fans on earth, McClain had a message: her dreams today, even so. A young age could one day become a reality.

"The biggest thing is not to give up," she said. "If you focus on that goal, you can shape your life in that direction."

At the end of their interview, McClain waved to the classroom full of potential future astronauts and floated upside down.

Copyright 2019 NPR. Further information can be found at https://www.npr.org.

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