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Class Of 4000 Children: Trained Like Astronauts, Finishing Their Mission

Credits: ESA - A. Le Floc'h
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Mar 25, 2011
After eight weeks of exercises and classroom activities, 4000 children from more than 25 cities worldwide are about to conclude their 'Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut' challenge that promotes healthy nutrition and regular exercise.

Acrobatic space somersaults and climbing martian mountains are some of the fun activities - inspired by astronaut training - performed by children and teachers from Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the USA.

This has helped pupils aged 8-12 years to understand the importance of staying fit for astronauts and children alike, in space as on Earth.

The efforts and the enthusiasm of the competing teams are highlighted by the hundreds of pictures, videos and texts that teachers have posted on the Mission X website at

As the messages are from all over the world, the challenge has been a truly international exchange of experiences and impressions.

All the 'Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut' activities are freely downloadable in six languages.

Finish line for Mission X
To conclude the challenge, each country will organise a ceremony for their explorer teams. They will have the opportunity to be in contact with ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, the ambassador of the Mission X programme currently living on the International Space Station.

Several other serving and former astronauts from Europe, USA and Japan have contributed to the programme with their personal experiences and encouraging messages to the children.

Paolo will address European children, congratulating them on their achievements and further highlight the importance of regular exercise for astronauts.

Eighty-five lucky German children, representing their young European colleagues, are invited to the European Astronaut Centre, in Cologne, Germany, from where they will ask the questions provided by all participating children.

During the final event at EAC, ESA and German Aerospace Center (DLR) will offer German children a rich programme, including hands-on activities at the DLR School Lab and a guided tour of the unique astronaut-training facility.

With this final qualification, a new class of fit explorers is now ready for further adventures and exploration of the fascinating world of space - and being healthy.

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