Astronaut stops in Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Astronaut stops in Albany

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February 18, 2004

Albany -- All astronauts are pioneers blazing trails into outer space. One who's more of a pioneer than most was in Albany Wednesday. One of the first black men in space encouraged kids to dream big and follow those dreams.

He is one of the few people who knows a view of earth from above. Major General Charles Bolden, the first black Marine to serve as a shuttle pilot and commander for NASA is using his time in Albany to bring a "can do" message to Mock Road Elementary students. "They can not be afraid of failure,"says Bolden. "They can't be afraid of trying because they are the smallest in the group and the can't be afraid of applying because they are black or African American because they can not be afraid of failing."

Living his life on the edge led Bolden to lead four NASA missions including one that put the Hubble Telescope in place. For these young students meeting a real space explorer was unexpected.

"I didn't think that I would never meet one" says ten year old student Monitia Moore.

"I thought he would come in-- in his orange jump suit and have his helmet on his head. It was nice to me,"she says.

Years after his time with NASA, space exploration is still a passion for Bolden. Although he agrees there are risks, he says it's the idea of discovering life on planets like Mars that keeps the program alive.

"Life could have existed on the surface of Mars and who knows depending on how the futures reversing on the planet itself they could one day have life on the planet," he says.

Bolden hopes what students hear will make them dream and work hard so they will a part of those future discoveries.

Major Bolden was brought to Mock Road Elementary with the help of MCLB and the National Naval Officers Association.

posted at 6:12PM by scott.hunter@walb.com