An astronaut has told Worcester schoolchildren that one of them could be the first to visit Mars.
Retired NASA astronaut Don Thomas told youngsters that someone from their generation would go to the red planet during an inspirational visit to Nunnery Wood Primary School.
Dr Thomas spent 44 days in space during four trips he undertook in the 1990s, during
which he orbited the Earth 692 times.
He spoke to students from the school, along with some from Red Hill Primary School and Stanley
Road Primary School.
Pupils dressed as astronauts and aliens to hear Dr Thomas tell them about how he lived, worked and played catch in space.
He told them how thrilling it was to be launched into space, describing
it as "like going on a great, scary rollercoaster."
He was at the school as part of a series of trips organised by Inspire Space and told pupils he had been inspired by another astronaut himself at the age of six.
Speaking to the Worcester News, Dr Thomas said: "From six years old I was focused on it.
"Then, we would land on the moon when I was in high school.
"That was a very positive reinforcement and inspirational moment
Dr Thomas said: "The highlight for every astronaut is looking at the Earth, just to see our planet.
"It changes the perception of the planet.
"You appreciate our planet is really fragile. We have to take better care of this planet.
"All these images I've seen in books and I'm looking out the window and it's really amazing."
He said he now visited dozens of schools a year and found children were as excited as ever about space.
He said: "We have some great missions in
the future. This generation will be the ones landing on Mars, and going back to the moon.
"Space is something that young people are interested in.
"It's a magical world. They love the idea of exploring new places and that's what we are doing
in space, exploring new places.
"The more people that can go up there to see our Earth the better off our planet will be.
"You would only have to look out of the window for 30 seconds and it would change you."
After the talk,
some of the youngsters received prizes for projects they had completed based around space.
The talk took place on Thursday, March 23.