Tulsans Touch The Moon At TASM
By Nicole Wiseman and Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- Tulsans touched a piece of the moon and learned about future space exploration at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.
On Saturday, NASA's new Driven to Explore exhibit featured a moon rock more than three billion years old.
"It's a priceless piece of history and it's nice to let people touch that piece of history," said Jenny Knotts, a NASA spokesperson.
The moon rock is one of only seven people are allowed to touch. It is a piece from the original lunar rock sample, which came back on Apollo 17 in 1972.
Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the moon, but NASA is working to change that.
The goal of NASA's newest space exploration program, Constellation, is to return people to the moon and beyond.
"We went in the ‘60s and ‘70s with Apollo, but we were limited to a certain area on the moon. This time, with our new technology, we can go anywhere we want," said Knotts. "We can go to the backside of the moon. We're going to go to the poles and it's really important to find out what's up there and how much like earth is the moon.
"Can we use anything from the moon here on the earth to make our life better? Could we one day inhabit the moon and use it as a planet so people can go vacation? You never know."
NASA is building new spacecraft, called the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Orion is just one part of the Constellation Program's fleet of vehicles being built. The new spacecraft will be used after the shuttle is retired in 2010.
To begin with, NASA anticipates sending four people to the moon for one week at a time, with the first steps on the moon by 2020.
"Humans have an exploring spirit," said Knotts. "We always want to be looking for the unknown and this is our next unknown."
Watch the extended interviews with NASA spokesperson, Jenny Knotts, for more information on the moon rock and the Constellation Program.
Get updates to Nicole's latest stories through Twitter. Click here to follow her.