LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A meeting room at the Tippecanoe County Public Library was packed with people excited to hear Jerry Ross discuss his time in space.
The retired NASA astronaut was at the library Saturday to promote his book “Spacewalker” for the summer reading program. He shared photos and video from his record number of space launches — seven — and answered questions from the audience, The Journal & Courier reported (http://on.jconline.com/1oZaokU ).
Ross, a Purdue University graduate, said he was excited to be back in Lafayette to share his memories just in time for the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
While Buzz Aldrin is asking people to remember where they were when he and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to step on the moon and share those memories through social media, Ross said he is not much of a Facebook user or “tweeter.”
He does, however, remember exactly where he was on July 20, 1969.
It was the summer between his junior and senior year at Purdue, and he was back in his hometown of Crown Point with his then-fiancee, Karen.
“She was sitting on my lap and we were watching the video intently,” he said.
Ross remembers his younger sister taking snapshots of the black-and-white video on the television.
“We kept telling her they wouldn’t turn out, but she actually got some good pictures that day,” he said.
While that day wasn’t what sparked Ross’ interest in becoming an astronaut — he was infatuated with space before the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958 — he remembers that moment like so many others.
Now, through his speeches and his book, Ross hopes to encourage younger generations to follow their dreams like he did.
“If they study hard and work hard, their dreams can come true,” he said.
Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com