Mom in space: Astronaut talks role on earth, in space station

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CBS News

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 28 at 1:27 PM

(CBS News) Astronaut Karen Nyberg blasted off for her mission aboard the International Space Station in May. She'll be there conducting research until November.

But in the meantime, she's doing important research on astronauts' health in space, as several astronauts over the years have suffered from bone and eye deterioration following long-duration flights.

She joined the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts from space -- about 250 miles about the Earth.

Nyberg, her hair sticking straight up off her head in zero gravity, discussed what it's like to be away from her 3-year-old son Jack. "Of course, it's hard," she said. "But we do have a great communication. I send down a video to him every day that's about 20 seconds long and my husband sends up pictures and videos, and our support people at NASA do the same."

During her mission, Nyberg is wearing her husband's wedding ring and a "J" charm representing her son Jack.

Nyberg added, "You know, there are people in the military who leave their families...so this is nothing unusual or new. There are people doing this all the time."

And even more women could be doing it, too, as half of the newest class of NASA astronauts are women.

"That's fantastic," Nyberg said of the statistic. "I think it's a natural evolution of things that eventually more women are starting to get into the fields.

"You know, the first astronaut class many years ago, they selected all test pilots -- and there weren't any women test pilots at the time. And as we get more and more women that are excelling in these areas, we're just naturally going to get more and more women."

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