If you want to really wow someone, tell them that you went to school with an actual, bonafide astronaut. I get to do that because I went to school with Danny Olivas. The guy is such an amazing astronaut that he has flown on two shuttle flights and accumulated more than 668 hours in space. Danny has served as a mission specialist on STS-117 in 2007 and on STS-128 in 2009. He has even been on five spacewalks. All in all, Danny has racked up more than 34 hours of extravehicular time in space.

It just so happens that Danny is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. For a guy who has accomplished so much in space, he is really down-to-earth. See what I did there? Danny is not a guy who brags about himself and is really low-key. So seeing him on a loud Nickelodeon game show is going to be a lot of fun. And I can't wait to see if he is smarter than a fifth grader!


I got the chance to ask Danny some questions via email about his appearance on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader:

How did you get tapped to be on the show, and do you plan on doing other appearances on shows?

Danny: I was presented with this great opportunity to participate in a game show that focused on kids, in a respectful and fun way, that highlighted their intellect. I was more than happy to become part of their brain trust, in a crew-like fashion, in the hopes of raising as much money as we could for the benefit of children advocacy charities. I really like the idea of a format which respects children and demonstrates that sometimes the answers to problems that perplex us, can come from some unexpected sources. Any opportunity that I can use to raise awareness of the value of children and find ways to create benefits for those less fortunate, is always on my radar.

Did you decide to do this one because it concentrates on education?

Danny: I was familiar with the prior format and truly appreciated the renewed emphasis on the capability of these young people. Children are our future and encouraging their educational pursuits will only help them as they reach for the stars. Where we can share what we know, we should. If I inspire the next generation, it is because their excitement and enthusiasm inspires me. It was my pleasure to be part of this show.

Danny's winnings will be used to set up the "Space for Everyone" Foundation, in support of children's advocacy groups. Good luck on the show, Danny!

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