A high-ranking NASA official is in Iowa today (Monday), touting the accomplishments of the space agency and urging kids to pursue careers in the field. John Olson, safety operations manager of the International Space Station, says young Iowans who are interested in becoming astronauts need to study hard, especially math, science and engineering.
Olson says good candidates also have to have the right attitude. Olson says “You’ve gotta’ believe that anything is possible and landing 37 years ago this month on the moon taught us that. When we put our collective hearts and minds and work incredibly hard to get there and keep sight of those goals, that nothing’s impossible.”
Olson notes that several active-list veteran shuttle astronauts are from Iowa, including Mount Ayr native Peggy Whitson and Jim Kelly of Burlington. He says “The Midwest values and work ethic and honesty and a fine public education system all are great assets that bring benefit to our space program and to the broader context of science and engineering and human exploration.”
While NASA’s focus has shifted in recent years, Olson says the 80-billion dollar International Space Station is still playing a vital role in sending people further into the cosmos. He says “The President, in his vision for space exploration, stated we’re going to complete our international obligations, complete construction of the International Space Station, leverage the lessons learned from that for our further exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.”
Olson spoke this (Monday) morning at the Science Station in Cedar Rapids.