Louisiana Aerospace Day at State Capitol _lowres

Patrick Scheuermann, director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in Memorial Hall at the State Capitol on Thursday.

The head of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center came to the State Capitol Thursday to remind the Legislature of Louisiana’s role in helping America get to Mars.

“We don’t need money,” said Patrick Scheuermann, director of the Center in Huntsville, Ala., expressing a sentiment that legislators haven’t heard repeated very often during this legislative session. The state is helping with the effort, however.

For instance, state government has bought expensive, hi-tech tools, installed them at the Michoud Center and allows the space program to use them. The Marshall Space Flight Center oversees NASA’s Michoud Assembly Center in New Orleans.

Michoud is building a rocket that will take astronauts to Mars, a mission that is scheduled for 2030. Called the Space Launch System, or SLS, the rocket will be about 75 shorter than the State Capitol.

Scheuermann, a native of Arabi and graduate of the University of New Orleans, has been in charge of the Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio visited Baton Rouge schools as part of NASA Louisiana Aerospace Day.