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The invention was launched into space in 1970, providing the first scientific proof that molecular hydrogen existed in deep space. The UV telescope, or spectograph, was used once more in 1972 on the Apollo 16 moonwalk mission and was aimed at studying Earth’s atmosphere.

Carruthers’ created the Science & Engineers Apprentice Program in the 80’s, which allowed high school students to visit the NRL site and learn more about astronomy. When Hailey’s Comet passed Earth last in 1986, one of Carruthers’ inventions captured ultraviolet images of it. In 1991, one of his camera inventions was used in a space shuttle mission.

Now 74, Carruthers, has been teaching astrophysics and atmospheric physics at Howard University since 2002.

Carruthers has recieved several awards based on his research, including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, and an Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal from NASA.

Carruthers is one of the recipients of the 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation. His medal was presented by President Obama in 2013 at the ceremony to honor those who have achieved significant scientific achievements.

(Photo: National Science and Technology Medals Foundation)

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Little Known Black History Fact: George Carruthers  was originally published on

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