Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski, MD Presents Rocks to NASA During Houston Event

Alexandria, VA – A piece of the Moon collected during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 will have a new home on the International Space Station, along with a rock from the summit of Mt. Everest.
Former astronaut and Challenger Center for Space Science Education Board Member Scott Parazynski, MD, presented both rocks to NASA during a January 6 event at Space Center Houston. Parazynski carried the Moon rock with him when he became the first astronaut to reach the summit of Mt. Everest on May 20, 2009. He also collected the Mt. Everest sample that will accompany the Apollo 11 rock to the space station. A video of the presentation is available on YouTube at
Parazynski presented the rocks to NASA astronaut and STS-130 Commander George Zamka, who will deliver them to the space station during next month’s flight of the space shuttle Endeavour. The rocks will be displayed in the cupola of the Tranquility node of the space station.
 “These rocks will be there as a reminder to all of the astronauts of what human beings can do and what our challenges are, so this is a tremendous opportunity and thank you so much for giving them to us today, Scott,” said Zamka.
During the presentation, Parazynski said, “Through its 47 Challenger Learning Centers worldwide, Challenger Center encourages kids to pursue math and science and careers in technology, and excite them through simulated space missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. We feel very strongly that this is a wonderful organization and encourage you to find out more about it.”
Fellow Challenger Center Board members Miles O’Brien and Keith Cowing joined Parazynski at the Space Center Houston event, which was emceed by O’Brien. 

About Challenger Center
Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit

Rob Cork, Director of Communications
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Challenger Center for Space Science Education
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