Via Teleconference

Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas

10:14 A.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon.  Can you hear me?
DR. LINGREN:  Madam Vice President, we have you loud and clear.  It’s great to see you at JSC and an honor to speak with you from the International Space Station. 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I am so excited to be with you all as Vice President, as the head of the Space Council, and as an American who is a space nerd.  I’m so thrilled to be with each one of you.  And thank you for your excellence.  Thank you for your service. 
How are you guys doing?
DR. LINGREN:  We’re — we’re doing great.  We are fellow space nerds.  And we really appreciate you and the Space Council and everyone there — the support that you all have for the human spaceflight program. 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You know, I’ve invited some students to join us today.  And we’ve been talking with folks, of course, around the country about what you all are doing.
Can you share, for those who have not been on the International Space Station: How does it impact your view of Earth when you’ve had that experience?  Does it change your view of Earth and your perception of who we are who live on Earth?
MR. HINES:  Well, ma’am, that’s a — that’s a great question.  I think it’s something that we all share up here.  You know, one of the unique perspectives that we have here is to see Earth in its entirety.  You know, we orbit the Earth.  We see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. 
And we look down and we see a world with no borders.  We see — and we see and work with people that are, you know, from all different backgrounds and things like that. 
So, our perspective up here is that we’re all part of one team, we all work towards one common purpose, and that when we set — set our minds towards — towards those kinds of goals, we can accomplish anything. 
So it is really phenomenal to be up here.  And it is great looking down on the Earth.  You do realize how fragile it is and how much we have to take care of it as well. 
And so, it is just really a privilege to be up here and — and just really an honor. 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Lessons for all of us.  We’re all in this together, aren’t we?  But you can see that when you’re in space — that we on Earth are all in this together. 
And I appreciate your point about the fragility of this beautiful Earth of ours and the need therefore to take care of it.  
Tell us what you are learning on the Space Station that is helping us be smarter around how we take care of Earth.
DR. WATKINS:  Yeah, absolutely.  You know, first, Madam Vice President, it’s an honor and privilege to be speaking with you today. 
But yes, we are honored and privileged to be able to use the International Space Station as a testbed and as a laboratory to be able to learn lessons that we can apply to Earth. 
So, things like learning how to grow plants without soil and being able to use that back on Earth to help with food security; thinking about — learning about how cells age — immune cells age while we’re up here and thinking about how we can help with immune cell aging back on Earth.
There are so many different aspects of what we do up here that can be applied to making Earth a better place. 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And everything you spoke of is about life — isn’t it? — and what we can do through food, through the growth of agriculture that feeds the species and the population, but also what we can do to improve the condition of human life in terms of sickness and what we can do and discover in terms of treatment that really is so exciting. 
What — I have — I’m going to have a bunch of students with me today.  What would you tell them to — and share with them to encourage them to continue with their studies in a way that they would either one day be on the International Space Station or could be here on Earth working with these incredible professionals I’m around right now to facilitate the work you all are doing in space?  What’s your advice for our students?
(The teleconference connection to the International Space Station passes out of range.)
                          END                 10:18 A.M. CDT

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