Kevin Ford, a NASA astronaut and space station commander, fielded a question about what students should study if they want to become astronauts or work in the aeronautics field.
"It's almost overwhelming all the choices that are offered to you," he said. "I love math. And I love physics and I had very enthusiastic teachers... We have a life support system onboard that is very chemistry intensive. We talk chemistry every day. We use math every day. It's a lot of complicated science to make this all work."
Ford added that students should take all the classes they can. " You might need them all if you end up in the space business," he said.
Ford also noted that the first thing that inspired him to become an astronaut was reading the book Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys, written by astronaut Michael Collins, who was on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
"I really just fell in love with that profession because of that book," he said. "What he did, the trip he took to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, that really started it all off for me."
So which scientist would the astronauts like to take into space with them?
For Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn, the answer was simple -- physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton.
"We see what he could only imagine," said Marshburn said. "It's really hard to believe that he could imagine these things, and it would be great if he could see it."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.