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Notes, comments and observations from the Lifestyle and Entertainment desk by Lifestyle Editor Aixa Torregrosa-Vazquez.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Look who's turning 68


Smokey Bear to Celebrate 68th Birthday at Mission Control
HOUSTON -- NASA, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Texas Forest Service and Smokey Bear are teaming up to celebrate Smokey's 68th birthday Aug. 9 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The popular mascot will tour the center and record a promotional announcement for NASA Television that will air later this month.

Smokey Bear is the USFS symbol for wildland fire prevention and represents the Advertising Council Inc.’s longest-running public service announcement campaign.

On May 14, Smokey went where no bear had gone before. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and the Expedition 31 crew chose a plush Smokey doll to be the team's launch mascot, celebrating their trip to the International Space Station. During his tour about 250 miles above Earth, Smokey will turn 68 years old, sparking the celebrations back on the ground Thursday.

NASA's collaboration with the USFS began in 1971 when Stuart Roosa, an Apollo 14 astronaut and former Forest Service smokejumper, orbited the moon with a pack of seeds as part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Those "moon trees" were planted around the country (many for the nation's bicentennial in 1976) and around the world. Today, the trees stand as a tribute to Roosa and the Apollo program.

This year, NASA and the USFS signed a Space Act Agreement that unites the two agencies in raising awareness about the importance of fire prevention and fire safety. For more about the International Space Station and the NASA-USFS connection, visit: