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photo of Luther Richardson floating in the C-9 microgravity simulator

Luther Richardson
Physics/Computer Science Teacher
NEAT member

I have been teaching for a decade, and have been trying to find ways to bring real science to my students not only after school but during class as well.  I spent my summer of 2003 at JPL working with a student group as the Power System engineer for a Mars Microsatellite Concept Study and doing research on magnetic spacecraft and on the magnetic field of Mars at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2004.  In the last four years, we have had a program called the Columbus High School Space Program that has had over twenty experiments selected to fly into space or be tested at a NASA center as well as some MIT funded research.  This effort has paid off for me in a lot of ways including completing 70 parabolas of microgravity on board the NASA C-9 on two separate flights (see picture).  The students in this program have been working with the Ft. Benning Soldier Battle Lab with some of these projects, and the prototype of the robots in service in Afghanistan and Iraq is in my classroom.  I’m currently working on a new project to bring these experiences to other schools in my district with a program called Columbus NASA Connections.  This program will include, among other things, a high altitude scientific balloon program that will fly other school’s student experiment to the edge of space. For more information on any of these programs, visit our project site at

I’m also a graduate student at Auburn University finishing my Ph.D.  My wife, Laura, and daughter, Hallie, are my batteries to keep up the energy so these projects stay alive. In rare moments of spare time, I practice photography (people, things, stars, nebulae), read physics books, and build cars.

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2006
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe