Seven astronauts, including six of whom participated in the Apollo Missions to the moon, recently visited a Minnesotan high school to discuss their experiences and offer messages of inspiration. The event was arranged by John Pederson, an alumnus, who realized that no Apollo astronaut had ever visited the school (appropriately named Apollo High) since its establishment in 1970.
The occasion, which took place Wednesday, November 12th was cleverly titled, “Apollo at Apollo.” Pederson, whose company is currently working with NASA on LED technology, came up with the idea so that astronauts could physically demonstrate the system to the student body. According to sources, it has the ability to secure deliver data using light photons – an innovation that has attracted the interest of NASA.
Eirik Holbert, the NASA research scientist in advance light concepts, states that NASA is already working on a partnership agreement with Pederson’s company.
“The light-based technology could help reduce the amount of copper wiring needed in a space station or capsule, saving weight and money”, Holbert explained. This could, in turn, cut the size of solar arrays needed to provide power.”
But for Pederson, that’s all in the future. For the time being, he’s simply happy to have had the astronauts visit the school.
“Since we know people at NASA and have offices there, the opportunity for the astronaut visit came up and I just loved it,” he said.
“We were very excited about space when I was growing up and rumor had it that astronauts were going to come to Apollo High School,” Pederson said. “I could never verify whether that was official or not. But I thought it would be awesome if we could have this visit now.”
Among those who participated include Charlie Duke, of the Apollo 16 mission, Alfred Worden of Apollo 15, and Walt Cunningham of Apollo 7. Also taking part were Skylab astronauts, Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson and Jack Lousman, as well as Space Shuttle pilot, Jon McDride.
Duke, who stepped onto the moon roughly 42 years ago, stated that he remembered the event like it was yesterday. He recalls it as ‘the most incredibly beautiful desert he has ever seen.’