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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter called the international space station and told its three residents that he'd trade places with them ``at the drop of a hat, except you can't drop your hat up there.''

``This is probably the oldest dinosaur you'll speak to while you're there,'' the 76-year-old Carpenter said Tuesday from Mission Control in Houston. ``But you'd be interested to know that your friend Valentina Tereshkova thinks we are not dinosaurs, but pterodactyls.''

Pterodactyls are extinct; they were flying reptiles. Tereshkova, a former Soviet cosmonaut, became the first woman in space in 1963.

``You're no dinosaur to us,'' astronaut Jim Voss replied from space station Alpha. ``We just talked to a bunch of high school students, and I doubt if they have even the same amount of enthusiasm that you have for the space program.''

Carpenter, who orbited the Earth on May 24, 1962, three months after John Glenn, told the two U.S. astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut aboard the space station not to let Mission Control work them too hard.

``Remember _ you can always strike,'' he joked.