Yesterday, my family and I journeyed to Space Center-Houston. It was a good day trip, especially considering my family has been living her for 8 years or so and hadn’t ever been. It’s easy to forget that Houston sport teams are named “Rockets” and “Astros” for a good reason… NASA’s Johnson Space Center (just across the street from the “civilian” Space Center) plays a significant roll in the training of Astronauts, development of spaceship technologies, and of course, the location of Mission Control.
The “tram tour” of NASA was incredibly interesting, to me at least. Of course, I am an adult who loves going on tours. I do NOT recommend this tour for anyone under the age of 10, maybe even 15, because it is freakin LONG. Seriously, almost 2 hours. You get to see a lot of interesting things, and learn a lot of facts, but it is a lot of getting on an off the tram, standing, sitting, and shuffling from place to place. That being said, all of the information you learn is pretty amazing. Of course the fact that we can bring people to space and return them home safely is incredible on its own, especially considering Mission Control’s computer servers had less memory then a single digital photo would up on your PC today. I’m sure its a lot of facts you could read in a book or find on Wikipedia, but again, I’m more of a visual/hands-on learning type person.
It was incredibly fortunate that we chose a Thursday afternoon to visit the Space Center. Why? Well, as my dad and I wandered into Starship Gallery looking for moon rocks, a nice older gentleman stopped us and said he’d be starting a tour of that section soon. He led us and a relatively small group of museum going though the exhibit, giving out tons on tons of interesting facts. He was the perfect narrator for the progression of the space program. It wasn’t until the end of the tour that he explained to us that he was retired. And had worked for NASA for over 20 years. And was the head of the team that decided where the lunar modules would land on the Apollo space missions (among other amazing positions he held). He is the only former NASA employee that gives a tour in the Space Center, and he only does in Thursday afternoons. And for the life of me I cannot remember his name 😐 To be able to meet someone involved in such a remarkable part history was a real treat.
While we were there, we just had to stop The Cinema of George Lucas Movie Artifact Exhibit. As a Star Wars fan, it was cool to see the droid costumes, Revenge of the Jedi movie clapper, and a notebook with Lucas’ original draft of Star Wars. However, I did not realize that relics from 2 of my LEAST favorite movies from childhood (ie ones that tramatized me and to this day I have no desire to watch) would be there. Seriously, do we need props from Howard the Duck and Willow at the Space Center?