Our next trip will be to Houston, Texas. This is new territory to Harold, and he was feeling a little nervous. “What’s in Houston?” He asked me.
As the largest city in Texas, Houston has many of the wonderful things found in big cities: Art, history and science museums, zoos, aquariums, gardens, parks, and great music.
But what Houston has that no other city has is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. This huge place has been Mission Control for all American space flights. It is where American astronauts have been trained since 1967.
“What’s an astronaut?” my stufftie friend asked. I explained that astronauts were people who went into space to explore and see how people could live off the Earth. Harold got very quiet for a minute, then asked how you got to BE an astronaut. You apply, I said. You write why you would be a good astronaut and send that to NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in Houston. Then NASA decides if you should come learn how to be an astronaut.
I helped Harold go online to see what it took to be an astronaut. There was a really long list. You have to have studied at a University. You have to have experience with equipment. You have to be the right size…
“Right size? I’m tiny! I’m perfect! I could fit in a really small space ship!” Harold decided that even though he would not be a REGULAR astronaut, he would be very useful in space. He doesn’t need to breathe air and he doesn’t take up much space.
Most importantly, he said, astronauts need hugs sometimes, just like everybody else.
And Harold is very good at hugs.