Every kid loves getting something addressed to them in the mail, but what if they received correspondence from a real astronaut? Thanks to NASA’s pen pal program, they can write and receive answers from real, live astronauts. It’s a great way to keep kids interested in science, and if a letter does come back, it’s a pretty cool item for the family “brag board.”
Step One: Pick an astronaut
Have your kids look through the list of astronauts on at NASA’s website and read through their bios to see what each one does. Maybe your kids want to know what it’s like to live on the Space Station. Maybe they are more interested in the engineering and problem-solving that goes into making a rocket fly. Picking an astronaut who deals with exactly your kid’s interests makes the NASA pen pal program process even more fun.
Step Two: Decide what to ask their astronaut of choice
Once you’ve picked your lucky astronaut, you should help your kids compose their letter (or have them write it on their own if they’re old enough). The best bet is to ask a specific question that an astronaut can answer. (Check out this amazing two-page letter one four-year-old received after her dad helped her write a letter to NASA scientist Dr. David Williams with a question about a probe headed to Jupiter’s moons.) Kids can think about what they’ve learned in school to help draft their questions. You can also make a request for an autographed photo from current astronauts who are in training or are assigned to an upcoming flight.
Step Three: Address and mail the letter to the NASA office
Any mail and photo requests can be sent to:
NASA Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
You can make it easier on the astronauts by including a self-addressed and stamped return envelope.
Good luck, space cadets!