Vice President Kamala Harris joked Friday that she would “write letters” to the International Space Station after her call to astronauts orbiting Earth cut out within minutes.
“More to come. We’ll write letters!” the vice president cracked while still holding a phone receiver at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.
Harris managed to ask a trio of astronauts some questions — including about what they learned from their time in space.
“This is like my Zooms all year long,” the VP joshed as she was patched through to the ISS.
“I’m so excited to be with you all as vice president, as the head of the Space Council and as an American who’s a space nerd,” Harris gushed once the connection was made.
Harris then asked: “Can you share, for those who have not been on the International Space Station: How does it impact your view of Earth when you have had that experience?”
“We look down and we see a world with no borders … We see and work with people that are, you know, from all different backgrounds,” astronaut Bob Hines told Harris — who has faced criticism in her role as President Biden’s US-Mexico border czar. The number of people arrested for illegally crossing the border has continued to grow and is projected to exceed 2 million in fiscal 2022 — a new record.
Hines also said he realized “how fragile” Earth is and how “we have to take care of it.”
“Lessons for all of us,” Harris replied. “We’re all in this together, aren’t we? But you can see that when you’re in space — that we on Earth are all in this together. And I appreciate your point about the fragility of this beautiful Earth of ours and the need therefore to take care of it.”
Harris then asked the astronauts for lessons on how to be “smarter” about taking care of the planet.
Astronaut Jessica Watkins cited experiments on growing plants without soil and anti-aging research.
Harris lost contact with the astronauts after telling them “I’m going to have a bunch of students with me today” and asking for advice to pass along.
The veep was ridiculed last year for using child actors — rather than actual students — to film a video promoting her leadership of the National Space Council, a role previously held by her predecessor, Mike Pence.
Earlier Friday, Harris announced an initiative to boost diversity among the workforces of private space-focused companies that are reliant on government contracts.
In an afternoon speech, Harris rededicated the Biden administration to the goal of landing “the first woman and person of color” on the moon this decade as part of the Artemis program.
Former President Donald Trump committed to putting the first woman on the moon through the Artemis program and NASA said shortly after Biden took office that the next lunar mission also would include at least one non-white member.
Only 12 men — all Americans — have walked on the moon, beginning with Neil Armstrong in 1969 and ending with Harrison Schmitt in 1972.