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Astronaut talks dreaming big to Glenmont & BCHS students

Filed in Archive by on April 15, 2016


Pontes speaking to Glenmont fourth grade students.


Pontes speaking to BCHS students in Mr. Shannon’s Introduction to Engineering & Design class.

On Thursday, April 14, Glenmont fourth grade students had the opportunity to hear about space travel from a real-life astronaut. Marcos Pontes, Brazil’s first and only astronaut sent into space, has worked with NASA and spent time on the International Space Station. He shared photos and stories with the students about his life and his out-of-this-world experience.

Earlier this school year, Pontes also visited the BCHS Introductory to Engineering and Design (IED) class taught by Mr. Shannon. To the high school students, he presented on all of the different ways engineers have to design everyday items for anti-gravity, such as toilets to the buttons and levers you use on the station. 

“Every single component requires a different design considerations because of gravity,” said Pontes.

To both the elementary and high school students, Pontes stressed the importance of studying hard and doing your best in order to realize your dreams. 

“I’ve been met with a lot of challenges, but with persistence and big dreams you can do anything,” Pontes told the children. “I came from a poor family and used to watch airplanes fly over my head and dreamt about someday being up there.”

Pontes has two masters degrees and a PhD, and once learned Russian in three months in order to learn how to control the Russian space technology he would use when sent into orbit in 2006.

Through his work with Integra Optics engineering, Pontes makes it a point to speak to children when traveling. He also has the Marcos Pontes Children’s Foundation (“Fundacao Astronauta Marcos Pontes” in Portuguese) where he works to promote the same skills of perseverance with free engineering activities to teach children. Thank you to BC parents David Prescott and Nicholas Abdo for making this visit possible through their company Integra Optics.