The Times West Virginian

Local News

September 28, 2013

Space program: Making life ‘better on Earth’

Astronaut Mike Fincke to present WVU flag from Endeavour mission at today’s football game

MORGANTOWN — Astronaut Col. Mike Fincke talked with West Virginia University students, children and members of the community Friday, sharing the “wonder of flying in space.”

The talk took place at the WVU ballroom.

Fincke is originally from the Allegheny Mountain region, growing up in Emsworth, Pa. One of his coworkers, Judy Hayes, is a WVU alumna. As a favor to her, Fincke flew a WVU flag on the Endeavour Space Shuttle mission.

During the WVU-Oklahoma State game today, Fincke will present that WVU flag to the WVU Alumni Association, and it will be on permanent display at the Erikson Alumni Center.

Fincke spoke on his experiences at the International Space Station.

“One of the most breathtaking things that I’ve ever seen was flying over the Allegheny Mountains at 17,500 mph,” Fincke said. “This is one of the most beautiful parts of the most beautiful planet in the whole Solar System.”

More than 150 people attended the talk Friday, around 20 of them children. The talk included video of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station performing super-hero like feats in the low-gravity conditions aboard, such as taking off like Iron Man, and eating floating candy.

International space endeavors are important, Fincke said, because they help emphasize what we can accomplish by working together.

“We didn’t just do it with the United States; we did it with our international partners,” Fincke said. “We worked together constructively and not destructively.”

Fincke encouraged anyone with an interest in space to pursue it.

“We have people who didn’t just study science and engineering, but people that studied everything else, all the way from graphic artists to medicine and sports physiology,” Fincke said.

Fincke said that the space program isn’t just about studying space, but about improving life on Earth as well.

“For the past 120 years, technology has changed life on planet Earth so much,” Fincke said. “That’s what we’re doing in the space program — we want life to be better on Earth.”

Briana Woods, a nursing student at WVU, said the talk was eye-opening.

“I didn’t really know much about the job of an astronaut,” Woods said. “Looking into the beautiful creation of this world, seeing what no one else sees ... it’d be life changing.”

Fincke has spent a total of more than 381 days in orbit and logged more than 48 hours on nine spacewalks.

Email Colleen S. Good at or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

Text Only
Local News
  • Morgantown man charged with sexual abuse

    A Morgantown man has been arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Marion County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Storm Cleanup Cleanup continues after storms

    Residents and emergency crews continued to clean up the mess Monday from Sunday evening’s storms.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gayle Manchin: Issue of Common Core Standards has been politicized

    The state didn’t do a very good job of “telling the story” of Common Core Standards, state school board president Gayle Manchin said Monday morning, which opened the door for an onslaught of public and administrative criticism of something few understand.

    July 28, 2014

  • Purple Heart Memorial fundraising continues

     Despite three years of fundraising, a memorial remains unfinished.
    The Purple Heart Memorial was planned three years ago. It is part of the Vietnam Memorial at the Wave Tec Park and was planned to honor all of those who were wounded or killed in action in any war.
    Danny Greene has been working to complete the memorial since the project began. He is a member of the local Purple Heart Chapter.

    July 28, 2014

  • End of Fairview water project on tap

    Officials say the Fairview water line extension project is on track to meet the goal of making water available to all new customers by the end of this week.
    Fairview Mayor Arley Simmons said workers have recently been busy pulling samples and flushing the lines in order to get new customers hooked up for water service.
    “It should have been done a year ago,” he said of the project.
    However, the end of the endeavor is now nearing completion. The hope has been to have everybody on line before this month is over, Simmons said.

    July 28, 2014

  • Barbara Yanero.jpg Like a Springsteen song

     Barbara Yanero grew up in Monongah, on Shaver Street. The street has a long history. For quite some time, Polish and Italian immigrants lived on that street.
    Yanero’s family started living there with her great-grandparents, who moved there around 1927. Later, her great-grandfather made a house for her grandmother and grandfather out of a barn that was already on the property.
    “He was an amazing human being,” Yanero said. “And my mom and dad ended up living there as well, and now me.”
    In Monongah, the neighbors formed a tight-knit group.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local water project nearing completion

    Officials say the Fairview water line extension project is on track to meet the goal of making water available to all new customers by the end of this week.

    July 27, 2014

  • Fundraising continues for local military memorial

    Despite three years of fundraising, Marion County's Purple Heart Memorial remains unfinished.

    July 27, 2014

  • Therapy Riding 1 SS - CB.jpg Horses at On Eagles’ Wings help change lives for better: VIDEO AND PHOTOS

    Out at the end of a long gravel drive off Opekiska Ridge Road, nestled under the shade of the forest and the sun of the West Virginia hills, rests the green and gold pastures of On Eagles’ Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship Center.
    There are horses there — whinnying out of their stall windows, munching in the paddock and, most importantly, helping people with disabilities gain strength and independence in the riding ring.

    July 27, 2014 9 Photos

  • Capito maintains edge in fundraising

    Republican candidate Shelley Moore Capito still leads Democratic candidate Natalie Tennant in fundraising efforts for election to the U.S. Senate seat.
    Current U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s announced his intention to retire from the Senate in January 2013.
    Capito announced her intention to run for the seat in November 2012, giving her an early start in raising campaign funds. Tennant, currently West Virginia secretary of state, announced her campaign 10 months later, in September 2013.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads