San Jose kids get NASA lesson on robots and rockets

NASA engineers gave lessons in robotics and rocket science to elementary school students Tuesday evening.

The free event at Arbuckle Elementary School in East San Jose was organized by Principal Olga Martinez, whose husband works for NASA.

“It’s never too early [to plan a career]," said Martinez. "It's opening up their minds and saying, ‘I can do this. This is so easy. I can do this. Why not?”

NASA scientists and engineers staged hands-on science experiments such as paper rocket launching, programming commands to robots, and demonstrating how satellites work.

Specialist guest speaker was retired astronaut Jose Hernandez, who said he became interested in science at 10 years old while watching the moon landing of Apollo 17.

Hernandez, a son of migrant workers, spoke to nearly 800 people on how he launched his outer space career. His biggest advice was to study and love math and science.

“It was hard to learn English, because I would go home and speak Spanish. So, the universal language for me was math. One plus three was four in any language," said Hernandez.