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Science, Health, Tech

Orion mission "for the Mars generation"

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Katie Peikes
/
Delaware Public Media
Retired NASA astronaut Brian Duffy shows space food to children at the Delaware Museum of Natural History.

 

NASA is prepping its Space Launch System and Orion Spacecraft for the launch to Mars in 2018. To Brian Duffy, a retired NASA astronaut, this mission is a powerful next step for NASA in uncovering some of the mysteries behind Mars.

 

Duffy, 63, has flown on four space missions. He is retired now but still works in the space business, helping NASA prep the Space Launch System out of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

 

"It’s about the size of the rocket that took us to the moon in the 1960s, but it’s more powerful," Duffy said. "It'll be able to take us to places where we've never been before."

His comments were part of a video chat to a room full of children ages 6-12 at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington last week.

Duffy, who helped build the International Space Station, was a product of the moon generation himself, inspired to become an astronaut after watching the late Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut to travel into space, on TV.

"My advice is always find something that you're passionate about, that you love and that you enjoy, and just work to become the best at it," Duffy said "Bring those skills and knowledge to the space program if that’s what you like to do."

The children Duffy spoke to were captivated by the idea of space travel, but Duffy noted NASA missions need more than just astronauts. He said people on the ground are vital too.

Michael Citrino, 9, was among the campers listening.  He said he enjoyed learning about the international space station and how it was built, but he’d rather be a scientist than an astronaut.

"I've liked science ever since I was five, so I just feel like I would be good at it," Citrino said.

The SLS will launch the Orion spacecraft to Mars in 2018. It will pave the way for more in-depth space travel and discoveries for the “Mars generation.”