SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane native and former NFL star Steve Gleason has his sights set on space.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and can no longer walk or speak. He has since worked to help better the lives of ALS patients through his organization Team Gleason.
Now he is applying to go to outer space through the organization Space for Humanity. The group’s mission is to leverage the power of space to help improve humanity by providing an experience that helps people put things into perspective on what it means to be a human on Earth.
The non-profit's website says, “Individuals who are selected must be willing advocates for the growth of the commercial space industry and have the capacity to both understand and communicate that the intent of the Space For Humanity mission is to give them a rare gift, the gift of perspective."
Gleason, who communicates through a computer he controls with eye movements, submitted a video application to the group on Friday. In the video, Gleason talks about his fascination with exploration. During his off time from the NFL, Gleason said he explored “the most remote and exotic places this plain, blue dot has to offer.” He said Team Gleason’s mission follows this philosophy of exploration and adventure that he has relied on his entire life.
He goes on to talk about how Team Gleason sends ALS patients on “extraordinary adventures to share with the world that what is perceived as impossible is simply our opportunity to propel humanity forward.”
Gleason said he is struck with wonder by the universe, just like any other human.
“Let keep exploring, not only the universe around us, but also the universe within us no matter our circumstances. We must keep exploring,” Gleason said.
Space for Humanity is in the process gathering applicants to send to send to space. They are looking for a diverse group of people to send on an all-expenses paid journey to experience seeing the earth from outer space. They want to send a selected group into low earth orbit by 2022, the moon by 2027 and deep space by 2030. The expect to select the group by the end of 2018.