Queen Elizabeth II heard from astronauts aboard the international space station (ISS) May 8 during a visit to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, M d.

ISS Expedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineers Oleg Kotov and Sunita Williams told the queen that the fundamental cooperation among nations that has made the space station a reality will prove vital for future exploration .

Williams told the queen that the space station is a stepping stone for human exploration .

“We’re doing a myriad of experiments that will help us understand how to live in space for an extended period of time so that we can build spacecraft to go back to the Moon and on to Mars,” Williams said of the space station.

The queen and husband Prince Philip are conducting a six-day U.S. visit to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the English settlement of Jamestown, V a.

British-born NASA astronauts Michael Foale, Piers Sellers and Nick Patrick were also on hand for the activities.

The British Royal Family’s NASA visit follows an April 19 letter of intent between the U.S. space agency and British National Space Centre to study potential areas for future collaboration on lunar science and exploration.

“We hope to work closely with the United Kingdom on new endeavors involving the Moon,” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said during the queen’s visit.