Grand Forks man takes lifelong love of space to next level

James Boone was recently named a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador, making him the sixth ambassador in the state.

James Boone peering into space with his trusty telescope.
Contributed by James Boone

"Consider again that dot," writes Carl Sagan, in his book the "The Pale Blue Dot." "That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know."

His words always resonated with James Boone of Grand Forks.

"We're so insignificant, almost in the universe, everything is so big," said Boone. "It's very, like humbling, that we're this tiny little blue ball."

Boone was recently named as a Nasa Jet Propulsion Labratory Solar System ambassador. On a volunteer basis, he does public outreach work about the latest NASA space missions and development.

For Boone, it's an honor, and a chance to help fulfill a lifetime passion for space.


He started gravitating towards that interest when he was all of four years old. That's when his parents got him his first telescope.

"They knew that I liked it," he rememberd. "And they knew that I was really interested in it. So they were, you know, great parents. You know, really trying to nurture that in me."

Later on in life, he developed a passion for astrophotography, taking shots of planets in our galaxy, like Saturn and Mars.

Now, as a volunteer ambassador for the NASA's Jet Propulsion lab, he's getting a chance to take what was once a hobby a step further.

He plans on doing events and speaking to classrooms in the future, hoping his passion will be contagious.

He's already passing on that interest to his daughters.

"They can point out the visible planets, like Venus, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn," he said. "They get very excited when they see the moon on the horizon."

Like father, like daughter.


Boone is the sixth solar ambassador in the state of North Dakota. There are just over 12 hundred Solar Ambassadors across the country.

What To Read Next
Get Local