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NASA’S canine recruit

ONE OF NASA's newest workers, a Golden Retriever puppy named Aries, goes to work every day at NASA's Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia as part of the ‘Leader Dogs for the Blind’ programme. Her mentor is structural engineer Evan J. Horowitz.

Horowitz works on the rocket and capsule project that will take astronauts back to the moon in NASA’s new Moon programme, but he used to be in charge of structural engineering for a research aircraft known as ARIES, short for Airborne Research Integrated Experiments System – which is how he came up with a name for his canine student.

Aries is Horowitz's third leader dog puppy, but his first since coming to NASA Langley two years ago. He put his name on a waiting list for a female Golden Retriever at the Leader Dogs for the Blind unit in Rochester, Michigan,18 months ago. During that time he made sure that he would be allowed to bring a puppy to work at a government aerospace research centre.

Eventually Aries will leave town herself. After about 12 months she will return to Michigan to complete her training as a Leader Dog and then go on to her permanent home.