Christians have a long history of association with space and, in particular, moon missions. It was John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, who said “to look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible, it just strengthens my faith.”
Not to mention Buzz Aldrin – who celebrated communion on the moon – and Commander Frank Borman, who exited Earth’s orbit for the first time and quoted Genesis 1 as he looked back. James Irwin and Charles Duke both became involved in missionary work after their moon missions.
So, it is no surprise that a Christian, Navy pilot Victor Glover, will be part of the first mission to land humans on the moon since NASA’s Apollo 17 in 1972. The Artemis program aims to land the first woman, and next men, on the moon by 2024 and is also planning a human mission to Mars.
Captain Glover, who attends church and teaches Sunday school in Houston, is originally from Pomona, California. He is a vocal supporter of outreach work and advocates for mentors to guide young people.
“Growing up in the ’70s, ’80s [with gangs around], I lived briefly in a part of Pomona called Sintown – not the nicest place in the world,” he told a NASA podcast. “So, you know, a lot of those paths I could have taken, we don't talk a lot about, but they weren't good.
“A lot of my friends wound up in gangs… these were my really good friends… and I just had some good influences keeping me out of that.”
A member of the International Space Station crew for six months last year, Captain Glover brought communion cups and a Bible with him and said he did “virtual service, virtual giving, reading my Bible and praying”. He told reporters, “I want to use the abilities that God has given me to do my job well and support my crewmates and mission and NASA. That's really the thing I think the most about”.
Captain Glover and his three colleagues will venture around the moon on Artemis II as part of NASA’s path to establishing a long-term presence on the Moon for science and exploration.
He wants to take his physical Bible with him on the moon mission, but weight limits mean he might have to settle for bringing a digital copy.