July 18, 2008--Posted at 10:15 a.m. CDT
PIGGOTT, AR--Kenneth Renshaw has two pet birds, a robin and a blue bird that he and his wife raised after finding them out of the nest. Kenneth is a photographer and has a masters degree in music. He teaches piano lessons and tunes pianos, but it's his passion for outer space that's given Renshaw ambassador status.
((It is beyond human comprehension how big outer space is," said Renshaw. "You know how we have black holes and super novas that man can't even comprehend and the power and the distances, and the weights, how large these objects are, it's just really something."
In 2003, that fascination with all things space jettisoned Renshaw into the role of a Solar System Ambassador for NASA. He's one of only 4 in Arkansas with roughly 500 around the country. "We do a lot of training and we're required to do several teleconferences every week and quite a bit of training," said Renwhaw. "We're required to read quite a bit of literature. It takes quite a bit of time."
As an ambassador for NASA, Renshaw travels around to local schools and colleges making presentations. Renshaw is the only person in Arkansas that's also a part of NASA's Saturn Observation Program with the Cassini Observer.
Renshaw is also able to show off some things very few people have ever seen, let alone, call their own. Renshaw has piece of moon rock and a piece of Mars rock, that's he purchased from a collector in Arizona. He's also purchased a small piece of Arkansas astronomy history, he's a chip from the Paragould Meteorite that hit in 1930.
"The meteor, at the times, was the world's largest to be seen and found," said Renshaw. "It weighed 820 pounds and is currently on display at the library at the University of Arkasas."
"A lot of people have meteorites, but very few of these," said Renshaw "Very few pieces are in private hands."
All of Renshaw's rocks are on display at the Matilda Pfeiffer museum in Piggot, along with more than 1,400 geological specimens from the Pfeiffer collection.
"I was at the space center in Houston one time and touched a rock from the moon, but never thought I'd own a rock from there or mars," said Renshaw.