The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) early Saturday finally responded to the curious Pakistani fourth graders who had asked them a series of questions regarding space travel.

In a bid to get NASA to respond to the students, the teacher had chosen Twitter to get in touch with astronauts and urged netizens to help get its attention.

NASA thanked students Alisha, Minahil, Haniyah, Mahrukh, Anabiya, and Rayyan for reaching out.

“We hope the stars align, so we can see you one day,” NASA said. Meanwhile, it added, the students can join them for a virtual tour.

The letter further read, “Dear NASA, we are students of grade 4 in The Cornerstone School in Karachi, Pakistan. We read all about you in our books and are fascinated by your adventures in space. We really admire your work and we have some questions for you, please reply when you have time.”

The letter then included six questions from students, Alisha, Minahil, Haniyah, Mahrukh, Anabiya, Rayyan. Like an uninteresting day in outer space, nothing really happened but that didn’t continue to happen. Soon several social media caught on and started retweeting the original tweet and tagging relevant accounts on Twitter.

A hashtag of #Grade4HasQuestions started making rounds on Twitter. Many joined the cause and it made enough noise to receive the first response from none other than an astronaut! Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, responded to Mahrukh’s question first. “How do you feel when you get blasted off in a space shuttle?” Hadfield, who went to space thrice, responded, “Mahrukh – I flew in the Space Shuttle twice. You feel violently shaken, squished, super-focused, excited, and lucky.”

He went on to respond to Rayyan’s inquiry of whether the astronauts get scared that their space shuttle might get lost? To this, Hadfield answered, “Rayyan – I wasn’t scared we’d get lost. We had the Earth nearby and used the stars to steer. I felt especially comforted when I flew over the home.” He went on to share a picture of Karachi he took! “Can you find your school?” Hadfield quipped.

Emily Calandrelli, Emmy-nominated host/scientist, responded to all the inquiries of the kids as well. Alisha wanted to know the kind of fuel rockets use and Calandrelli responded in detail. “Alisha – All different types! Some popular rockets that you’ll see will use a fuel + an oxidizer. For example, something called RP-1 and then liquid oxygen. These are combined together and then *ignited* and burned to create a big (controlled) explosion that moves the rocket!” she wrote.

Talking about Minahil’s question as to what she has to study in order to be enrolled in NASA, Calandrelli shared,“NASA needs all types of people for their missions! Mostly scientists and engineers (so studying a STEM degree is a good idea!) but also IT people, human resources specialists, accountants, technicians, writers, etc! But remember you will probably need to be a US citizen.”

Does it really rain diamonds on Jupiter? Mahrukh wanted to know and Calandrelli quipped it was ‘definitely possible!’

“The same physics and chemistry that creates diamonds here on Earth (putting Carbon under super high heat/pressure) exist on planets like Jupiter, so some scientists hypothesise that it’s raining diamonds there! Wouldn’t it be fun to see that?!” she penned.

Answering Anabiya’s question of what would be the most exciting thing an astronaut might have discovered, Calandrelli said, “NASA is discovering new things all the time (about the universe, our solar system, and our own bodies!), but in my opinion, their best work is on our own planet. NASA’s Earth Observing System studies the Earth and shows us how climate change is affecting our planet.”

The fourth-graders also received responses from German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

On Thursday, Aimun once again took to Twitter, sharing how she printed out the responses and will be handing each student their own. Many lauded Aimun for her efforts and hoped to see the reactions of the kids as well!

“If today’s wholesomeness on the timeline has taught us anything, it’s that teachers are powerful. So now would also be a good time to remember that most teachers are paid horribly and exploited across this country. The effort they make at school is out of love, not any official support,” a user shared.

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