A longtime NASA official will address the spiritual aspects of space exploration this month in the Twin Counties.
Mike O’Neal, who held several leadership positions with the U.S. space agency during a 31-year career, will offer the multimedia program “Spirituality and Spaceflight.” The public presentations will be:
- 7 p.m. Monday – Proctors Chapel Baptist Church, 2917 Old Wilson Road.
- 7 p.m. Tuesday – Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, N.C. Wesleyan College, 3500 N. Wesleyan Blvd.
- 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Feb. 10 – Westside Church of Christ, 2551 Benvenue Road.
The program covers from the start of the manned space program in the early 1960s to modern expeditions to the International Space Station.
“Stories will be shared on how astronauts have spiritually prepared themselves to go into space, how they practiced their faith in space and how space has profoundly impacted their spirituality,” a release says.
Admission is free.
“I’ve seen this. It’s really incredible. I had my jaw on the floor,” said Dr. Bill Searcy, who helped organized the local presentations.
“For most people, it’s been a deeply very profound, spiritual experience being in outer space” Searcy said, summing up what O’Neal told him the examination of astronauts’ faith found.
O’Neal’s work with NASA included service as deputy director of offices supporting the space shuttle and space station programs. He once was awarded the agency’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and twice its Exceptional Service Medal.
In his last two years with the agency, O’Neal researched ways to fulfill astronauts’ spiritual needs on future voyages, the release says.
“He was given the assignment to research spirituality in spaceflight for deep-space missions,” Searcy said.
O’Neal holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and a master’s in Christian ministry.
He is writing a book on spirituality in the space program.
For information, call Searcy at 252-305-4880.