Some Houston-area kids were "spaced out" today but in this case, that's a good thing.
These youngsters were in for an "out-of-this-world" experience. The first African-American astronaut ever to walk in space, Dr. Bernard Harris, is hosting a space camp for 54 local kids.
Harris experienced yet another first that he wasn't expecting, right in front of our camera. We'll get to that in a minute. First, here's a little more about a big summer camp adventure:
"It's a good interesting experience for all of us here," says 13-year old Chris Brown.
Retired astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris has gone where few have. He has flown two flights to space, including making the trip on the shuttle Columbia. Now, he's sharing those experiences and many more with kids at his camp.
"When I saw and heard he was going to actually meet us I was like 'oh my gosh'!" says 11-year old Angela Cruz.
Dr. Harris is encouraging the kids to be on a mission to make math and science a priority and to think about what they want to become.
"I want to be an architect," says Brown.
"I want to be like the person who makes the medicine and gives it to the pharmacist," says Cruz.
"And as they're thinking about it, they should realize education is the key to fulfilling that," adds Dr. Harris.
The middle school kids were hand-picked, among the best and brightest, and come from so-called struggling communities.
"It was important for me to choose kids with disadvantaged backgrounds because that was my background. For the first six years of my life, I grew up in inner city Houston, a very poor area. I came from a broken home," reveals Dr. Harris.
The one thing 8th grader Chris Brown says he will take from the camp is Dr. Harris' motto.
"He said he is a dreamer who believes that nothing is impossible," says Brown.
Having a dream, Dr. Harris says, is extremely important. If you can dream it and see it, you can be it.
He says kids who don't "lose that ability to see themselves in the future, to dream, to set goals. So I think it's important to getting people out of poverty. I think it's important to raise young folks expectations of themselves," says Dr. Harris.
These youngsters also asked Dr. Harris questions. Some were pretty technical, others were not.
"Do I get the ladies because I'm an astronaut?"
Dr. Harris laughs as he repeats the question.
"That's a great question. I can tell you being an astronaut does make you popular. I'll leave it at that but not only with the ladies but with everyone. That is the first time I ever got that question," he said, doubling over in laughter.
The retired astronaut also encouraged the campers, saying success is a choice accomplished by first choosing to dream, then choosing to work hard.