This week's Vincent Award goes to 6 year-old Connor Johnson from Denver, Colorado. Like many kids his age Conner has big dreams for when he grows up. His dream is to become an astronaut and travel to Mars (that is still my dream too Connor and I'm all grown up...sort of). When Connor starting hearing news reports of NASA's budget getting cut he feared that his dream of a trip to Mars would also evaporate with NASA's budget. So, unlike most kids and lets face it, even most adults, Connor decided to do something about it. with the help of his parents Connor started a petition on thr White House website in December of 2013 and after getting some local Denver media attention the petition has already been signed by over 22,000 people! The petition has since been removed from the White House website because it failed to get enough signatures in time, but Connor's voice did not go unheard.
Connor's efforts got the attention of the KSC Visitor Complex right outside of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, so much so that they invited Conner and his family down as special guests to the Robot Rocket Rally held on March 14-16 2014. As an honored guest Connor got to meet with astronaut and current Kennedy Space Center-Center Director Bob Cabana. Cabana presented Connor with a bolt from the International Space Station (ISS) as well as a mission patch. While there, Connor also caught the attention of astronaut Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan. Gene heard about Connor and sought him out so they could meet. Gene Cernan was the last astronaut to set foot on the moon and is quoted as saying this just before stepping off the lunar surface for the last time:
"Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come - but we believe not too long into the future - I'd like to just say what I believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus- Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17"
So what advice did Gene Cernan have for Connor? He told Connor...
"Dream the unimaginable"
I think Connor is well on his way to doing just that. Well done Connor. I think we all need to take Gene Cernan's advice and "dream the unimaginable", afterall that is what made it possilbe for Cernan to walk on the Moon in the first place.
This story was originally coverd by Ken Kremer at universetoday.com.