IT WAS an out of this world experience for hundreds of south Leeds pupils when an astronaut took a giant leap into their school.
Ron Garan, a retired NASA astronaut, visited Morley Academy to speak about his incredible missions.
Ron, who has travelled more than 71million miles during 178 days in space, talked to 250 pupils about his experiences.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said: “I really believe that the biggest investment for our future is by inspiring the next generation.”
Ron, who is originally from New York, has carried out four spacewalks and flown on the US Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
He is also an aquanaut and took part in the Aquarius mission – the world’s only undersea research laboratory, which saw him spend 18 continuous days living and working on the ocean floor.
Ron has also set up the Manna Foundation, which supports humanitarian projects in developing countries.
Pupils from across the Gorse Academies Trust, including Ruth Gorse Academy, Farnley Academy, Morley Newlands and Ryecroft Primary Schools, attended the presentation at the school in south Leeds on Monday, October 13.
Ruth Gorse pupil Ria Desai, 11, said: “It was really fun and interesting. I never realised how hard it could be to travel in a space rocket.”
Fellow pupil Aidan Robinson, 11, said: “My favourite part was when he showed us how the Earth looked from space.”
Rebekah Taylor, principal of the Ruth Gorse Academy, said: “The children were absolutely delighted and he was incredibly inspirational.”
She added: “We serve an area of significant deprivation within south Leeds and we have been aiming to help these children realise that the can achieve whatever they want to achieve and there are no limits.
“That ties into the concept of what Ron Garan speaks about.”
Ruth Gorse Academy is a £25m free school, which opened at the Morley Academy site in September. It is expected to become the biggest in the country, with 1,500 spaces when it moves to a purpose built home in Black Bull Street in 2016.