COLLEGEVILLE -- About 500 students ranging from elementary aged to college seniors got the chance to talk to two astronauts Tuesday at St. John's University.

NASA astronaut and 1989 St. John's graduate Mark Vande Hei and astronaut Scott Tingle held a video conference from the International Space Station where they answered about 20 questions from students in the audience. Questions ranged from, "How do you shower in space?" to "What research are you currently doing?"

Erick Reyez is a senior at St. John's. He's majoring in physics he says seeing Vande Hei proves to him that the limit is not the sky but rather the universe.

"This [talking with the astronauts] was awesome! Hopefully, this inspires other kids, people who have ambitions to become astronauts someday. The road is not easy, being in physics and science, but if you want it bad enough anything is possible, and Mark definitely [proved] that today."

Vande Hei and St. John's University's Physics Department worked for over a year to get the event set up. Jim Crumley is the Physics Department Chair. He says, of course, students interested in a science field were inspired but don't rule out students looking to go into other professions outside of science or math.

"We tell them [students] that they can be whatever they want to be and this is proof, this is a student that was here not that long ago and he's at the top of his field doing amazing work. Even the students that might not be excited about space themselves, just seeing you can do whatever you want is a great thing."

Vande Hei's mission is almost complete, he's been primarily working on repairing the International Space Station's 58-foot robot arm. He's expected to return to earth Wednesday, February 28.

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