In this photo taken by The Columbus Dispatch in August 1962 at the Ohio State Fair, Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr. moves through the science exhibit in the Youth Center.

The Ohio native praised the students at the science exhibits, characterizing the winners, and youth in general, as "most valuable for one asset they all share -- a tremendous curiosity."

Glenn visited all the displays and particularly was drawn to projects on algae, bones, topology, outer-space photography and seismographs, the Dispatch reported.

One young exhibitor said to the astronaut, "Please, Colonel, next time you take one of those space rides, grab me a meteorite."

The boy had a collection of rocks. Earlier that year, in February 1962, Glenn had become the first American to orbit Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury's Friendship 7 spacecraft.