Thursday morning at about 7:05AM (if the weather holds out), NASA will launch the new Orion spacecraft atop the Delta IV rocket. It will be an unmanned test flight for Orion, orbiting twice and then splashing down in the Pacific. This will be the biggest event for NASA since the last space shuttle flew in July 2011. If all goes well, manned flights will start in 2021 and Orion will be the spacecraft used to go to Mars in the 2030's. When they go to Mars, Orion will be on top of a rocket called the Space Launch System - the largest vehicle ever built - 38 stories high and weighing 6.5 million pounds.

 

So that 14 year old down the street that mows your lawn? Yeah, they might be the first commander on the initial mission to Mars.

And kids, I'm counting on somebody from Mid-Michigan to be on board that thing and bring me back a rock from Mars - so pay attention in physics class.

 

Here's the whole story.

 

And yes, I'm serious about the rock. You'll figure out a way to get it to me.

 

Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

Banana Don can be reached via email at don.jefferson@townsquaremedia.com and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.