By Mike Colgan

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The students at Washington Elementary looked up to the astronauts at the International Space Station. Their field trip Wednesday to the Tech Museum of Innovation left little doubt.

The best day of my life is how one 10-year-old described the chance to pose questions to ISS Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit as they orbited 240 miles above the Earth.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Do you have Internet in space and are you allowed to bring your iPad and iPod aboard? What do you miss most about Earth? How do you take a shower? The two astronauts took each question in stride as they floated gently above the floor.

Burbank said elicited some shock when he confessed to not owning a tablet computer, but he quickly admitted an iPad might come in handy.

“It would be a lot easier to have a single tablet, a single screen to take with you to do procedures and to do science procedures instead of having a big laptop with you. We have iPods up here,” he said.

Pettit said what he missed most on Earth was his family.

“But my family’s not a thing. In terms of earthly objects or pleasures, the holes that are left when you leave Earth are filled with things that you can do on orbit that you can’t do on Earth, like fly.”

With that, he did a zero gravity somersault that Burbank used to segue into a discussion about the importance of exercise in zero gravity.

“If we just let things be, our bodies would adapt to this and it would be very difficult to be strong enough to be healthy when you get back to Earth. So for us, we exercise almost 2½ hours every day, and we do running on a treadmill or bicycling on a bicycle,” he said, along with some weight training.

That heavenly lifestyle might have left the kids star struck but for the question about showers. Commander Burbank tried to put the best face on six months of making do with only towels, soap and water.

“It’s a little bit like being on a camping trip for a long time.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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