The Otago University Science Festival was given a boost today with the appearance of American astronaut Stephanie Wilson.
Wilson, a NASA engineer, was the second African American women to go into space when she joined the STS-121 mission in July 2006.
She has been on the shuttle Discovery three times, each trip gaining her an Astronaut Badge for her sleeve.
"We get very inspired by the view, and so on every flight I'm always surprised by how vivid the colours are and how spectacular it is to look back on our earth," Wilson said.
That inspiration is something Wilson is keen to pass on.
She has cracked a profession that is dominated by men, and wants to encourage pupils to study for their dreams too.
At the Science Festival, surrounded by children with vinegar and baking soda rockets, Wilson handed out prototype testing advice and answered questions about spaceship toilets.
The festival, which is in its eighth cycle, aims to celebrate and promote science and technology.
It runs from June 30 until July 8.