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Astronaut on International Space Station chats with Wheat Ridge HS students

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- Their  dreams reach way beyond the skies. Students at Wheat Ridge High School have their sights set on the stars.

NASA Commander Shane Kimbrough took a break from his duties on the International Space Station (ISS) to chat with 400 students Friday.

Kimbrough explained how astronauts stay in shape. “We work out at least an hour every day.”

Another question addressed concerns about how astronauts are affected by germs in space. “If somebody is sick then the whole crew is going to get sick pretty quickly,” Kimbrough said. That's because of the enclosed space they must live in for months at a time.

He then explained quarantine procedures two weeks before traveling to the ISS.

U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, who serves on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, said cultivating interest in our youth is key in the effort to land humans on Mars by 2033.

“Mars is not going to be the limit for them, they're going to be able to do so many things,” Perlmutter said.

The students also got a visit from Lt. Colonel James Harvey, one of the  original Tuskegee Airmen, and retired astronaut Steve Lindsey, who flew five shuttle missions, orbited the earth more than 1,000 time, and  built the airlock on the ISS.

Lindsey described how it feels to be in space by comparing it to the feeling you get on a roller coaster. “You get that butterfly feeling in your stomach ... that's what it feels like to be in space.”

At the end of the amazing chat, Kimbrough received a huge farewell from the audience, then wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving before performing an amazing gravity free somersault from 250 miles above the earth's surface.

Related: Track the location of the International Space Station