As­tro­naut ad­dresses stu­dents from space

The Washington Post - - NEWS -

The first as­tro­naut of Puerto Ri­can her­itage reached out Fri­day to school­child­ren on the hur­ri­cane-bashed is­land.

Fly­ing aboard the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, NASA as­tro­naut Joe Acaba fielded ques­tions from stu­dents at the Puerto Rico In­sti­tute of Robotics in Ma­nati.

One stu­dent asked how Puerto Rico looked from space af­ter Hur­ri­cane Maria struck in Septem­ber.

Acaba said the first thing he no­ticed was the lack of lights, mak­ing the is­land al­most im­pos­si­ble to see at night.

A boy noted that af­ter the hur­ri­cane, it was dif­fi­cult for some Puerto Ri­cans to eat, given the limited va­ri­ety of avail­able food. Does Acaba find the limited space menu tough to swal­low?

The menu, while pretty good, re­peats ev­ery week or two and does get monotonous, Acaba said.

Of course, he said it doesn’t com­pare to such Puerto Ri­can spe­cial­ties as paste­les, stuffed meat pas­tries wrapped in ba­nana leaves pop­u­lar around Christ­mas, and rice with pi­geon peas and pork.

Acaba, a for­mer school­teacher, is to re­turn to Earth at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

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