NASA astronauts have shown a group of Australian students what it is like to teach and learn in space.

NASA personnel in in Houston have connected with students at the Questacon National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra via high-speed video link to demonstrate some of the benefits and challenges of modern space communications. They have also passed-on important concepts for teamwork, design and problem solving.

Students got a lesson from astronaut Clay Anderson , who has spent time on-board the space shuttles Atlantis and Discovery and the International Space Station.

Anderson said the potential for this technology was tremendous, and that students should embrace it and aim high: “I think that the ability to bring this stuff right to them in their classrooms is huge...We need great engineers, we need great scientists, we need great mathematicians just like you guys sitting in the audience today, so be persistent, find what you love to do and then do it better than anybody and our Earth will be better for it...I applied to be an astronaut 15 times before I got selected...I certainly wish that we could've had this capability when I was a kid.”

The NASA broadcast came from the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, which is used to test equipment nd techniques in zero-gravity conditions.

The students have been set the challenging task of creating an object that hovers in fluid, much like the equipment NASA uses during training for weightlessness.