Apollo Astronaut Visits UT

KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee is doing a good job of training students for space science, the last man to walk on the moon said here Thursday.

Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who flew on Apollo 17 in 1972, was here as a guest of Dr. Larry Taylor, a UT geology professor who studies lunar rocks and soils from NASA’s Apollo missions.

In a noon speech to geology students and faculty, Schmitt said universities such as UT are a great source of research in space science.

“I think universities are doing an unbelievable job of educating students, given how sparse the resources have been for space science in recent years,” Schmitt said.

“UT is a classic example of that. They have learned how to leverage university, state and private sources to advance their agendas.”

Clever educators can use the allure of space exploration to illustrate many different academic concepts, Schmitt said.

“There is almost nothing that attracts the interest of students more than space,” Schmitt said. “There-s something about it that excites the imagination, and if you can put an academic subject in the context of space, it goes over a lot better.”

In addition to experience as an astronaut, Schmitt served as U.S. Senator from New Mexico, and chaired the Senate Subcommitee on Science, Technology, and Space.