Astronauts Gather in Utah to Inspire Young People

Astronauts Gather in Utah to Inspire Young People

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Jed Boal ReportingThe best and the brightest of the Space Race have landed in Salt Lake City and they will be talking to Utah kids about how it feels to be "out of this world."

Seventy astronauts from 30 different countries are in Utah this week. They're pioneers of space who have formed a brotherhood to promote space exploration from all countries. It's the 19th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. 70 people here have flown in space. One of them, Utahn Jake Garn, brought the association here this year.

It's a very exclusive club, those who've made the ride to space and back. Utahn Don Lind flew on Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985. The shuttle made 110 orbits in seven days.

Don Lind, Utah Astronaut: "You really feel a brotherhood with other people who've been in space."

They speak from all nations. They want to inspire young people, and later this week will visit school districts across the state.

Don Lind, Utah Astronaut: "We want to motivate young people, because the science and research we do this generation is the standard of living in the next generation."

Innovations in space--from electronics to Velcro--find their way into the mainstream. The 14-year-olds of today could be the first men or women on mars. Some students say they're primed for a major leap in space.

Jonathon Parker, Christa McAuliffe Space Center: "Right now, it's getting to the moon and setting up the base camp there, so we can launch off and go to mars."

Former Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was the first man to walk in space in 1965. The pressure in his space suit was off and his suit was too big to get back into the space capsule.

Alexei Leonov: "I am looking like Michelin Man."

He made an emergency adjustment to squeeze back in.

Alexei Leonov, ASE Co-President: "It was dangerous, but all right. I heard my heart and I heard my voice."

All of these pioneers here have big goals for the future; many will depend upon international cooperation.

John Fabian, Astronaut and ASE Co-President: "There's no longer the capability or the desire for one nation to take a dominant sole role in the development of space."

The future depends on sharing data and sharing costs. The international space station is representative of that effort; it also helps bring nations together.

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