Joe Tanner Helps Students Realize Their Dreams of Space

October 21, 2013

Joe Tanner's hands have repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. They've spent countless hours inside pressurized space gloves, and now they squeeze a hand grip to combat the osteoarthritis that has developed over the years as a result.

Tanner is no longer with NASA, and it's been seven years since he was last in space. But he tries to keep his hands in good shape.

"For an astronaut, your grip is your life, your performance," said Tanner, 63. He had to have surgery for syndactyly, webbing of the fingers, so he could fit correctly into his gloves. He doesn't depend on his hands like he used to, but they're still important.

Mike Lotto has never been to space, but he's been dreaming about it his entire life. He eventually realized that his poor vision would be the end of that dream, a devastating blow to all he had worked toward.

But, luckily, he met Joe Tanner.

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