"Education is the most important thing I think we do in this country," the Mousetronaut author says

By Andrea Billups
October 09, 2012 10:10 AM

Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has written a book – but don’t expect it to be about his life.

Instead, Kelly, who flew four shuttle missions and piloted 39 naval combat tours in Operation Desert Storm, has written a children’s book with an astronaut mouse as hero, FOX News reports.

Kelly, 48, tells the network he was inspired to write Mousetronaut after taking mice into space for research purposes.

“On my first space flight I carried up some mice and I got the idea from one of them. I didn t do anything about it for a very long time because I was busy flying the space shuttle,” he says.

He also defended his decision to write a children’s book rather than a memoir.

“Why a children s book? Because education is the most important thing I think we do in this country. It touches everything, and to have good books that will interest kids at a young age that they’ll read is really important, and kids tend to be interested space and in animals,” he says.

Kelly, who retired from NASA in October 2011, added that although he misses space travel, his main focus is caring for Giffords, who is recovering from a January 2011 assassination attempt.

“She’s still working hard, still improving. We just moved back to Tucson, so that s been great for her, very excited about that,” he said.

“I do some public speaking and some consulting,” Kelly said. “My primary role is to make sure Gabby has everything she needs Just making sure she s all taken care of, that s my no. 1 job.”