A letter from space at St Columban’s Mayfield

St Columban’s Primary School, Mayfield may just have a future astronaut on their hands in the form of Year 1 student, Ethan Gleeson.

As part of a Gifted Education school project last year, Ethan worked with the school’s Principal, Danielle Reed, on a project about outer space.

As part of his project, Ethan made a model of the solar system and learnt how to mix the colours, problem-solve what materials he would need, how to make the planets stay on his model and how to modify his design to try to recreate his vision.

Ethan’s project also involved plenty of research about all things space exploration, including the training and work of astronauts.

During his research, Ethan learnt about Australian astronaut, Andy Thomas, who was a part of four different missions to the International Space Station during his career.

Ethan decided to compose a letter to Andy Thomas asking him more about his space missions, which was sent off to NASA headquarters in Washington, USA.

In an exciting turn of events, Ethan received a letter back from Mr Thomas along with an autographed picture and a replica clothing patch, just like the one Andy would have worn on his suit during his last mission into space.

“Of all the flights I have done, I think my second flight to the Mir space station, back in 1998, was the most rewarding,” said Mr Thomas in his letter to Ethan.

“After all, I had to train to become a cosmonaut to do it and live in Russia and learn the language as well.

“I spent 20 weeks on the space station and orbited the earth over two thousand times. As you can imagine it was a tremendous experience and one that I will always remember.

“You too could one day become an astronaut, just stay in school and keep up your studies.

“You never know, you might one day get to walk on the moon!”

“It was just fabulous watching him work and learn during the process and I was so privileged to be part of it,” said Danielle Reed.

“The look on Ethan’s face as he read his letter was an absolute delight! 

“St Columban’s may very well have a future astronaut in our school.”

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