Napa's astronaut Kate Rubins speaks with old high school from ISS

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Napa's very own astronaut made a virtual homecoming on Wednesday to talk with teens at her old high school - from high above the earth!

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"Vintage High School, this is Mission Control Houston. Please call station for a voice check. Station, this is Principal Mike Pearson."

It's a voice astronaut Kate Rubins would recognize anywhere. "Hey, Principal Pearson, I hear you loud and clear from the International Space Station," she responded.

She's back at her old high school in digital form, live from low Earth orbit.

Students have been working on their questions.

"We're gonna ask about how Mr. Pearson was when he was Kate's teacher in high school," one student said.

"He was also our soccer coach, and he made us run laps," Rubins said.

Rubins learned to love working out -- on Earth and in space. "It just sort of collects and it'll end up pooling on your face or pooling on your body, so we always have a towel handy," she said of sweating.

To the average teen, that's gross. To a scientist, that's fascinating.

It's part of her study of heart cells. "We saw cardiomyocites, the heart cells actually beating in space for the first time," she said.

Of course, it's not all science.

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When asked what other work besides molecular biology she works on, Rubins answered, "You're a scientist in the morning, maybe, and a plumber or an electrician in the evening."

Few experiences could be more inspiring for teens, but whether it inspired them to travel in space themselves, that depends on who you ask.

"Space is really terrifying," one student said. "I kind of want to stay on the ground," another said.

Last month, they got to watch Rubins on a spacewalk, which was either really scary or really cool.

"It's like every child's dream at one point in their life, but I held onto it," another student said.

Life without gravity has some bitten by the space bug. "Like her food floating away and that just made me want to go even more because I want my food to float away," the student said.

For all the questions, one person sat quietly - Rubins' father.

"He was so happy and so proud of his daughter," Pearson said.

She's proof that if you work hard... "You guys may even find yourselves on the Space Station one day."
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