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NASA Training Pod Gets New Life

It was once used to train Astronauts. Now, a 50-year-old Relic from our Space Program is in an early launch stage to become an unusual teaching tool. One of the ironies of Outer Space is that there is no gravity out there, but the concept of of Space Travel has always generated a huge pull, a force-field of interest.

The pod in question is a Training Capsule for NASA Apollo missions. It was lost to history, in a Pennsylvania farm field for more than 30 years. Mark Koch of Altoona, with his two daughters who are already Space Enthusiasts, had the capsule exterior restored – part of a larger project. Mark Koch adding: “We use these items that we identify and restore to educate Youth. There’s lessons to be learned from all these Artifacts and we’re using them in this particular case, the Space Capsule, were developing a Moon Tree concept.” The Moon Tree Concept — its the capsule’s second life.

Flashback to the 1970’s. On the Apollo 14 Mission, 500 tree seeds were on board. Back on Earth they were planted. One of the resulting trees was in Holidaysburg. Now, seeds are being taken from that tree and the interior of the Training Capsule will be transformed into a Greenhouse with those seeds planted inside. It’s a Second Generation Moon Tree Project.

Koch adding: “We’re using some of the techniques being developed now in the Space Station, the trip to Mars, and the Moon, the Artemis Program. We’re bringing that down to Earth here and teaching Students what NASA is doing right now to overcome hurdles with sustainability issues.” Hi-Tech, Environmental, Recycling — all issues included in the Moon Tree Project which will be based at the Holy Trinity Middle School in Altoona. A Science Project for Students and others in hopes of not only growing new trees, but also interest in Space Exploration.

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