The National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to honor Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter with its Ambassador of Exploration Award.
The retired Navy commander will receive the award during a Saturday ceremony at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
The award -- a moon rock encased in Lucite -- will remain at the museum for display. The rock is part of the 842 pounds of samples collected during the six Apollo lunar expeditions between 1969 and 1972.
NASA is giving Ambassador of Exploration Awards to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, as well as other key individuals who also played significant roles in the early space programs.
Carpenter served as a Mercury astronaut and, during his historic 1962 flight, he orbited the Earth three times and manually controlled his capsule's splashdown into the Atlantic Ocean.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: 'Flying saucer': NASA live-streamed Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator test