Contributing to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal continues to be a rewarding adventure. It opens new doors that lead me to an ongoing educational experience; and allow me to share my space knowledge with space enthusiast all over the planet.
I was born in 1968 in Caracas, Venezuela. Since I was a child, I was fascinated with aviation, science fiction, spaceflight and technology. Unfortunately I didn't live the Apollo years. One of my earliest memories is of my dad telling me that a guy that was going to ride a rocket to the Moon was one of his old schoolmates: Charles M. Duke, the Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot.
In 1975, my parents and I visited the Johnson Space Center. This was a blast for me. When I became 12 years old, my dad though that I was old enough to have the Apollo 11 Life magazine issue that he saved for me in 1969. After that, I started to get more curious and wanted to know more and more of the Apollo missions. I began to read all that I could find out of the space program. With the pass of time, a question started to get bouncing on my mind: Why did we stop after Apollo 17?
In 1977, the Enterprise test flights began, and I fell in love with the Space Shuttle Program. In April of 1981, I was watching the ending of first shuttle mission on TV and, I realize that the Columbia commander was John Young, the CDR of Apollo 16. He was the only one of the twelve men that walked on the moon, that stayed in the space program.
Since my college years, I became involved with the local Astronomy club in Caracas, SOVAFA (Sociedad Venezonala de Aficionadas a la AstronomÃa).This affiliation gave me the opportunity to work for Humboldt Planetarium, where I gave the weekend presentations, taught astronomy courses and workshop as a regular member of the planetarium staff. As astronomy educator, I had the chance to do frequent interviews for local TV, radio, and newspapers. In 1995, a local radio station let me do my first astronomy talk show, 'Contacto con el Universo'. More that 250 shows aired from 1995 to early 2000, exploring various topics from Astronomy to Space Exploration, from Aviation to Science Fiction, trying to present complicated scientific concepts in words that everyone can understand. The highlight of the series, for me, came in December 1999 with a live studio interview with NASA astronaut candidate, Dr. Garrett E. Reisman, who later served on the ISS Expedition 16 and 17 crews, launching on STS-123 and returning to Earth three months later on STS-124. In 2010, he was a member of the STS-132 crew.
Today, I am still doing astronomy presentations on radio.
Besides astronomy, I like to do Scale Models. I consider this activity very interesting and stimulating, where each individual can express different concepts in a diversity of environments. And this activity allowed me to do a lot of historical research. Old loves are present in here too. I prefer make Real Space Models, making great emphasis in the Apollo Era.
In late 2000, I married Anakaryna Palacios, who sometimes doesn't understand my passions, but supports my endeavours. Together we have two wonderful children: Christian and Samantha. With them I share my astronomy passion. And they give me the magnificent gift of seeing life again from a kid's point of view. Maybe, one them will wonder, too, why we stopped after the Apollo 17; and decide to take a more active role in the Space Program.
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