Magazine article Workforce

NASA Decides John Glenn Still Has 'The Right Stuff' at Age 76

Magazine article Workforce

NASA Decides John Glenn Still Has 'The Right Stuff' at Age 76

Article excerpt

THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) announced in January that it's planning to send Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), the first American to orbit the Earth 36 years ago, back into space.

It's not an effort to boot him out of Congress. Rather, it's NASA's idea to send Glenn, who volunteered, as a medical research "guinea pig" to research medical issues related to the elderly. Glenn is expected to fly aboard a two-week shuttle mission next October. Japanese medical scientist Dr. Chiaki Mukai and European space agency astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain will join the mission to test the physical effects of space flight on the aging body.

Specifically, NASA wants to see how Glenn-the agency's oldest former astronaut-fares in weightlessness, which causes the deterioration of bones and muscles that older people generally experience.

Glenn will be 77 this fall when the mission is scheduled and would be 16 years older than anyone ever to fly in space. Many critics are questioning Glenn's safety and ability to complete the mission at his "advanced age. …

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