NASA Astronaut Talks About Future Moon Exploration

The East Texas Symphony Orchestra worked hard to bring NASA Astronaut Mission Specialist Lee Morin to Tyler.  Morin visited and signed autographs for young East Texans at the Discovery Science Place, Saturday afternoon.  Morin hopes his Tyler visit will inspire East Texas youth to follow their dreams, all the way to space.

"If that's what it takes for them to be competitive, 15 to 20 years from now they have to be working on their educational skills now," said Morin.  "Hopefully putting on this space suite, talking to people in East Texas, doing some TV interviews, maybe we can motivate people.  If we just motivate even one young person from Tyler to become a scientist, or engineer and make a contribution decades from now, then that's a worth-while investment of my time."  Morin also talked about this week's successful satellite missile hit.

"That video was quite spectacular, a very successful activity," said Morin.  "There's a lot of coordination with NASA.  Our interest in it really was that there was no risk to the shuttle." Space shuttle Atlantis did land safely from the International Space Station.  A lot of time and work has been going into future space exploration that Morin himself is working on, helping develop a new NASA space craft.  Morin said we will take another giant step on the moon again.

"I personally have a role in that," said Morin.  "I'm working on developing the cockpit of that vehicle.  The other parts of that will come along, are around the 2018 time frame, to actually return to the moon and have the crews land on the moon.  Four people will go to the surface of the moon for a week, between 2018 and 2020 and that will be to go back to the moon to stay and to learn how to colonize the moon and exploit the resources and information there for humanity's benefit."  Who knows what all this could mean for the future of our planet?

"The Earth has been the crater of life and the crater of humanity, and we're learning how to live and work in space, so that we can live off the planet," said Morin.  "That actually makes new worlds available to humanity, so I can't imagine anything more important than to provide another world for humans to live on."

Morin narrated a slide show Saturday night featuring images taken from deep space probes of planets.  The East Texas Symphony Orchestra played music such as the Star Wars theme along with the film, shown at U.T. Tyler's Cowen Center.

Courtney Lane, Reporting