Astronauts ignite dreams of 4H students

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Peggy Whitson, Tomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy will go to a place that many have only dreamed about when they embark on a six-month journey to the International Space Station. These astronauts are venturing to space for expedition 50 of 51 as the program is scheduled to end in 2024. 

"I think the international space station, the legacy is going to be the international partnership," said Whitson. "We have built something in low earth orbit. It's not technically an easy thing to do, but we did it internationally." They have accomplished the missions in multiple languages, proving nationalistic differences and even linguistic ones are not barriers, but binders, taking us to places, that are out of this world, literally. 

"Looking back at the earth, it is very obvious when you look back, this is one planet and we are one people," said Whitson. She has spent 377 days in space. She is not only the first woman to command the International Space Station, she will be the first to do it on three occasions, proving to be an inspiration to young men and women throughout the world. 

"I learned that there aren't any boundaries set for you, for what you want to be when you grow up," added Whitson. "If you see something you want you can just strive for it and nothing will stop you."

As for the children just trying to connect the dots in life, Pesquet offered some valuable advice for achieving your dreams in addition to getting good grades. 

"You need to be able to work as a team, you need to have some empathy, you need to be patient, you need to be able to communicate," said Pesquet.

For Adriana, an elementary school student in Houston, the message resonated.

"You can be anything when you grow up if you try," said Adriana.

Whitson, Pesquet and Novitskiy will travel to Russia in September for several weeks of training and will launch from Kazkhastan.