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The Old Faithful Joy of Discovery

Dorothy “Dottie” Metcalf-Lindenberger is best known for her work as an American astronaut, becoming the very first Space Camp® alumna to fulfill this dream that so many campers have as they walk through the doors for the very first time. However, her love of exploration began far before she had her sights forever locked on the stars. 

When she was in college, Metcalf-Lindenberger joined her classmates on an expedition to Yellowstone National Park, where she spent five full weeks mapping where the last ice sheet had been, resulting in a depression of the valley glaciers. 

However, even in this time with her feet firmly planted on earth, her heart was always drifting towards the sky. 

“Of course, we would go up to Bear Tooth, around 10,000 feet above sea level, and watch satellites,” said Metcalf-Lindenberger on the Dare to Explore Podcast. “It was a really magical summer … the nearest phone was a payphone a mile away, so if you even wanted to make a call you had to walk a mile to do it. I really cherished that summer.”

In fact, she loved it so much that the following summer Metcalf-Lindenberger was back exploring the mountains, this time outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her mission? She was looking at 2.5 billion-year-old rocks, and discovering how tiny micro-continents were smashed onto the part of the main continent of North America. 

“Looking at how these rocks are deformed, three are different crystallizations, and you can see how these formations have been re-heated,” remembered Metcalf-Lindenberger. “I turned that into my senior thesis project, [and I received] honors in geology as I graduated that year.”

Not to be limited to scientific discoveries, Metcalf-Lindenberger also has delved into the world of artist-discovery for quite some time. For years, she has served as a lead singer of the all-astronaut rock band “Max Q,” a musical group that she shares with other space legends such as Daniel Burbank, Kevin Ford, Susan Helms and Greg Johnson.

Learn more about Metcalf-Lindenberger and other scientists, engineers, and professionals from the space and aeronautics field by subscribing to “Dare to Explore,” the official podcast of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation. “Dare to Explore” can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen.

Photo Credit: NASA


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