Astronaut Tim Peake holds cosmic classroom with schoolchildren

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SCHOOLCHILDREN have made contact with outer space during a live question-and-answer link up with astronaut Tim Peake.

Around 300,000 children in the UK saw their usual lessons turned into a ‘cosmic classroom’ as Major Peake played space ping pong whilst travelling at 17,000mph on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Major Tim Peake holds his 'cosmic classroom'

Major Tim Peake holds his 'cosmic classroom'

Major Peake, who is from Westbourne, near Emsworth, was quizzed by students back on planet earth during a 20-minute video call home, streamed to three cameras at the World Museum in Liverpool.

The event saw 300 students from schools across the country come together to speak directly with Major Peake as their counterparts watched from classrooms across the world.

The 43-year-old Portsmouth University graduate, who is the first British astronaut to carry out a spacewalk, is more than a month into a six-month mission on board the ISS, carrying out experiments and research.

In a busy first month aboard the ISS, he became the first Briton to complete an Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) or spacewalk.

More than 10,000 teachers signed up for their class to participate in the Cosmic Classroom showing the pupils how exciting science could be in learning about gravity and free floating.

Before making contact, the visitors were told: ‘This is space, sometimes things can get a little tricky.’

During the call, which was possible thanks to a signal being sent down to America and beamed across to Liverpool, Major Peake demonstrated a number of science experiments for pupils to copy from their classrooms.

In a zero gravity game of ‘Follow the Leader’, he was asked to crouch down, spin around, touch his toes and drink water.

The pupils watched as he let go of his ‘floating’ microphone before spinning around and around in space.

The event was hosted by Doctor Kevin Fong, who worked for NASA for 10 years, who was to tell pupils ‘it could be you up there, you just need to work hard’.

More than 7,000 school children uploaded videos of questions and although there was not enough time to ask them all, a lucky handful did get the chance.

Five-year-old budding astronaut Harry, from Ursula Taylor School in Clapham, Bedford, blasted off the questions via video link asking Major Peake, ‘what can you see out of your windows?;

Major Peake floated to the window to tell the schoolboy he was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and was approaching the coast of Africa.

He described it as ‘beautiful’ to look at from space.

During the call, Major Peake wowed the students as he performed space experiments using a bubble of water and a fizzing tablet.

As the bubble fizzed and got bigger, the children fell about in fits of laughing as he began to play space ping pong with it.

He told the children: ‘We are so privileged, we get to work up here all day, it’s like playing in a playground of weightlessness.’

Ending the call, Major Peake said: ‘I have had an absolutely fantastic time talking to you this afternoon, thank-you so much for joining in.

‘Continue to have fun. Enjoy your studying and I hope you enjoy learning about space and remember to just do what you really enjoy doing.’