Former astronaut leads team building rocket bound for Mars

Americas Now

Rocket Man gets ready for lift-off

For a young boy in Costa Rica the dreams of being a rocket scientist seemed far way, but Franklin Chang Diaz has always been about defeating the odds.

Former astronaut leads team building rocket bound for Mars

Former astronaut leads team building rocket bound for Mars

For a young boy in Costa Rica the dreams of being a rocket scientist seemed far way, but Franklin Chang Diaz has always been about defeating the odds.


At the age of 17, he moved to Connecticut in the U.S. to live with his relatives and pursued his doctorate in plasma physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Through determination and perseverance he became an astronaut in 1980 and went on his first mission in 1986. For 25 years, Chang Diaz was an astronaut at NASA, flying on the space shuttle not just once, but seven times.

Now that his flying days are over, he is still pushing the boundaries. His next project is his most ambitious by far: building the spaceship that will take a man to Mars.

Correspondent John Zarrella reports from Houston, Texas, where Chan Diaz’s team is building the rocket. He says it will be ready for a test trip in three years.