PHOTO: azpm
Co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute, William K. Hartmann, discusses the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's orbit of earth.

It's been 50 years since astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth and local resident Bill Hartmann remembers this date fondly.

Hartmann is a planetary scientist, writer and artist who is co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson.

He remembers Feb. 20, 1962 when Glenn made history. Hartmann and other colleagues at the University of Arizona were paying close attention to the developments.

"We were just freshly arrived graduate students and we were all very excited about each new launch that would come along," Hartmann says.

Hartmann is a prolific astronomer, author and artist who hopes that new generations continue to be inspired by this nation's accomplishments and the work of scientists who are responsible for breaking barriers and making new discoveries.

"I think it's still a goal that for humanity in general, maybe combinations of countries working together, to establish a human capability that actually operate in the inner-solar system and visit other bodies and asteroids," he says.