Sunita Williams wants to see Indians smiling from the moon


New Delhi : Indian students have enough capability and they should concentrate on exploring the universe more, American-Indian astronaut Sunita Williams said Monday. She expressed her desire to see Indian students smiling from the moon.

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“There is a lot to know and explore about the universe. Now you should dream of going to the moon, Mars and space. I want to see your smiling faces from the moon,” Williams said while interacting with school students in the capital.

Dressed in a blue jump suit, hair band and brown shoes, the lanky astronaut interacted with nearly 150 students from 33 schools of the national capital region.

Encouraging students to take up careers in science, the 42-year-old helicopter pilot said: “I was not a good student in school and college life was difficult. However, every one has to bring something different to the table and prove it.”

She showed videos of how she brushed her teeth, combed hair, had food, did exercise and swam around the International Space Station (ISS).

“In space you have to run after your food to catch it. Everything is floating. Food and daily life events were a real fun there,” She said showing how she and her colleagues were chasing a dollop of orange juice inside the space station.

Williams arrived in India on Sep 20. She first went to Gujarat, the home state of her father. She also attended the International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad Sep 24-28. She will be in New Delhi till Oct 4.

Speaking about her health in space and soon after she returned to earth, Williams said: “In the zero gravity condition of space, the spine elongates and in my case I was taller by one inch. We used to work out for two hours every day.

“When I landed on earth, I was feeling happy but due to gravitational force my legs were trembling. I was feeling like throwing up. But after two days of rehabilitation, I was perfectly fine.”

When asked about the delay in her landing, she said: “I am grateful to all those who prayed for me in India and send the positive energy. But, on the back of my mind, we were aware of the amount of fuel left and time in hand to land on earth,” she said.

On Sep 21, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited Williams to meet him in the national capital. The prime minister has termed her as a “role model for Indian children and a source of inspiration for Indian women”.

“India feels proud of her achievement even though she is a citizen of the United States of America,” the prime minister had said.

Williams had already met Congress party’s chief Sonia Gandhi and was scheduled to meet Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal later Monday.