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GROTON — “Did you see any Transformers in space?”

NASA astronaut Captain Mike Foreman was only 30 seconds into a question-and-answer session at the Groton Public Library when the words tumbled out from the audience in the singsong cadence of a child no more than 5 years old.

(His answer, delivered with a chuckle and a hint of experience with such questions: “No, I didn’t see any Transformers in space.”)

Foreman spent more than three hours at the library Wednesday night talking about outer space and answering questions as part of a special event. He did two sessions with young kids and another with both teenagers and adults, all while wearing his blue NASA flight suit.

Between the three events, Foreman spoke to more than 150 attendees.

“Getting to go to space is outstanding, it’s the best part about being an astronaut, but then getting to share the experience is right up there with getting to go yourself,” he said in an interview. “Hopefully, along the way, we inspire a few other people to think, ‘If this guy can do it, anybody can do it because he’s just a regular guy that studied engineering. Maybe I should study engineering.'”

The now-retired astronaut flew on two space-shuttle missions, one on the shuttle Endeavour in 2008 and the other on the shuttle Atlantis in 2009. During those missions, he performed a total of five spacewalks, which were his specialty.

He shared his thoughts on a variety of topics, including the status of the space program after the space shuttles were shut down in 2011 (“the future of space in this country is bright,” he said), what it feels like to be weightless (he likened it to the stomach-in-your-mouth feeling on a roller coaster, except across the whole body), and his favorite part of his time as an astronaut (the spacewalks).

“If I could go back and do one more thing, I’d want to do one more spacewalk,” he told the audience. “The views are fantastic out there. You’re floating next to the space station, you’re traveling 17,500 miles per hour in that one-person spaceship just like the space shuttle and space station are.”

In addition to answering questions — some serious inquiries, some about Transformers — Foreman read the book “Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story,” written by fellow astronaut Mark Kelly, to the two groups of kids. He also signed autographs and took pictures with guests, all while flashing smiles and throwing out good-natured jokes.

When 8-year-old Aaron Sosa of Groton asked him how he became an astronaut, Foreman explained the various qualifications needed, but stressed: the first step is to “study and get good grades.”

Sosa, for his measure, thought the event was “fun,” while Groton’s Jacob Danit, 9, instead said it was “awesome.”

One young girl, 4-year-old Audrey Neff of Groton, even arrived in her own miniature white NASA flight suit. She “autographed” a picture of herself in costume for Foreman and took his autographed picture as a keepsake.

The library invited Foreman to come speak to coincide with the latest Groton READS event since the book is Andy Weir’s “The Martian,” which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film last year. Organizer and adult-program coordinator Lauren Suarez said the event “went wonderfully.”

Groton company One Giant Leap, a nonprofit that works to educate the community about space exploration and scientific fields, paid to fly Foreman out from his home in Houston.

Foreman shared a message of perseverance as a means of motivating future astronauts — and scientists and engineers and technicians and more.

“I want people to know to go for their dreams,” he said. “Dream big. Set goals. I tell people all the time that I applied to be an astronaut eight times (before being accepted). I missed my goal a lot of times … Hopefully you don’t fail at your goal seven times before you succeed, but a few failures is not a terrible thing.”

Chris Lisniski can be reached on Twitter, @ChrisLisinski.

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