Endeavour inspires future scientists in its new home

*Emmanuel Martinez contributed to this report.

Endeavour launched its final mission today at the California Science Center—an exhibit featuring the shuttle itself, its main engine, and the tires from its last space mission.

imagePhoto courtesy of Justin Higuchi (jus10h) at Flickr.

But the exhibit will do more than show off the shuttle’s design. Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the Science Center, said, “It really is a significant moment in our efforts to inspire young people, and people of all ages, to want to learn more about science and technology and engineering, and to become our future explorers.”

The inspiration is already taking root. Students from the Alexander Science Center School were already imagining what a trip into space would be like. Amarion Arias, one of the school-children in attendance, said he wanted to be an astronaut because he would be able “to see everything that’s in the space shuttle.” Moses Ross firmly announced his intention to fly in space. “So when I grow older, I’m going to be in the space shuttle and fly in space, and I can—like gravity—I can fly on the moon.”

Former astronaut Leland Melvin flew on the shuttle Atlantis in 2008 and 2009. He says the Endeavour may launch a whole new generation of budding scientists and inventors, “a new era in discovery and imagination for every child that sees it to think about themselves building the next vehicle that’s going to take us to Mars, or being the astronaut who steps onto the Martian surface, or being a doctor that’s going to save someone’s life with stem technology.”

Even grounded, the Endeavour still remains a potent symbol of possibility.

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