Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 9, 2014

Reaching for the stars — It’s not hard to imagine that man’s early journeys past the skies of Earth have inspired minds in each generation since.

Pauls Valley native Jeff Moore is still seeing those dreams of reaching the stars. Thanks to a continuing career through the NASA Ames Research Center in California.

His work exploring our solar system and others who have called the sooner state home has been an inspiration.

Bill Moore’s seven-part series, “Oklahomans and Space,” looks at the contributions Oklahomans have made to the space program.

“He (Bill Moore) came out and interviewed me about a year ago,” said Moore. “We did about two hours of taping then, asked me what I had done.”

The first part aired June 3 on Oklahoma OETA. The series continues each Tuesday at 10 p.m. except for June 24, with the final episode on July 22.

“I thought it sounded exciting, to hear about space and all the Oklahomans involved,” said Jeff’s mom, Barbara Moore. “It was always his desire from the time he was a little boy.”

Jeff is a 1971 graduate of Pauls Valley High School and earned degrees in geophysics and history from OU.

He said growing up in Oklahoma and becoming enamored with space travel was no coincidence. He was hardly the first from the area to be involved.

One of Moore’s biggest influences, Gordon Cooper, was from Shawnee. He participated in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States.

Cooper was one of the original seven astronauts. He flew the final and longest mission of that program and was command pilot of Gemini 5.

“If some guy from Shawnee could be one of the original astronauts,” said Moore. “There’s no limit to what can be done.”

Jeff will be featured in several segments on the last episode, titled “To the Planets and Beyond.” It focuses on his work involving Galileo and the New Horizon mission.

Moore finds it interesting that Oklahoma doesn’t have a big space program despite all of the pioneers who call this state home.

He hopes by passing this information on it will build future contributions by Oklahomans.

Barbara noted that this compliments his contributions to education on the subject.

“I think that’s pretty good news to pass around,” said Jeff.

“The state has produced a large number of people who have been instrumental in all aspects of space exploration.”

Editor’s note: More information on Jeff Moore’s career and how it will be covered by this series as well as an interview with documentary creator Bill Moore will be featured in a future edition of the Democrat.

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