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Obama floats questions at astronauts

The president acts as moderator for a group of middle school students quizzing the team aboard the space shuttle and space station, and he has a few queries of his own.

March 25, 2009|Christi Parsons

WASHINGTON — President Obama has been fielding some tough questions lately, but Tuesday morning he turned the tables on another set of newsmakers.

When the 10 astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery and International Space Station got quizzed by a group of middle school students gathered in front of a television set at the White House, the president acted as moderator, relaying questions to the astronauts via telephone.

Questions from the children included:

* "As an astronaut, what do you eat?"

* "Can you play video games in space?"

* "Have you found any life forms or any plants out in space?"

The answer to the last question was a regretful "no," but mission specialist Sandra Magnus said she hoped that might change on possible missions to "the moon and Mars and . . . [Saturn's moon] Titan, and these others types of environments."

Obama threw in a few queries of his own. He teased Magnus, whose hair was floating above her head in the weightless shuttle-station complex, asking, "Were you tempted to cut your hair shorter while you were up there?"

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cparsons@tribune.com

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