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Scott Parazynski, M.D., is the only astronaut to have also summited Mount Everest. In this clip, Parazynski discusses his early exposure to the space program and watching man walk on the moon. These events put him on his career path, as well as established his taste for adventure.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in the shadow of the Apollo program. My father worked on Apollo when I was a very young boy. In fact, I remember watching the lunar landing with my parents as a young kid and then actually watching Apollo 9 launch from Kennedy Space Center. My dad had special VIP tickets for him to go. My mom and I, my grandparents, watched from the beach nearby. But I remember feeling the vibration of the launch in my chest several miles away and wondering what it would be like to actually be on top of that rocket on the way to the moon. That certainly set me on a course to pursue exploration as my life’s work. I never lost sight of my ambition to one day fly in space and it also led me into other great adventures, including things like climbing Mt. Everest and other big mountains around the world.
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I’m the only astronaut thus far to have also been in space and summited Mt. Everest, but I hope that will change in the not-too-distant future. One of my colleagues, Karl Henize, a shuttle astronaut, attempted Mt. Everest in 1993 and unfortunately he perished on the north side of the mountain at advance base camp. One of the things that I did on Mt. Everest’s summit is I left one of his mission patches on top of the mountain for him.”