The news has been filled with amazing space things lately. From Scott Kelly returning from a year on the ISS to Space X landing a rocket successfully, it’s a renewed and exciting time to keep your eyes turned upwards.
I love visiting NASA facilities, any space related exhibits, museums, etc..I love to learn about the great adventurers of our time. I have to say I do often feel a sense of sad wistfulness that I will never go to space. My most recent visit at the end of January was to Johnson Space Center in Houston. It was glorious. This was somewhere I had wanted to go as a kid and many of my friends went. We never had money for vacations and as such rarely went out of town. Traveling is a pretty big deal to me no matter where it may be. When it happens to be somewhere that is the site of monumental human achievement: all the better!
To add to this I recently watched American Spacemen and followed it up with the movie The Right Stuff. I don’t often use fictional retellings as a point of reference but according to those involved in this movie the story is pretty close to reality. It shows the parallels of the American Space program and Chuck Yaegar breaking the sound barrier.
American Spacemen also tells the story of a Minneapolis company that helped break altitude records and was pioneered strongly by a woman(I feel a vested interest in this, being a female and all). There is a great article about it here: High Altitude Balloon Innovation
My visit to the Space Center was epic. It included a tour of not only mission control, you know: “Houston, we have a problem” but also the Vehicle Mock-up Building where all the astronauts come to learn how to use space equipment and the warehouse that stores the last Saturn V rocket that never got to launch because Nixon cut the budget. There is also a stray photo of the deer that live on the grounds. There were more animals as NASA does all that it can to preserve it’s surrounding environment. In fact, in Florida, all the grounds that belong to NASA are an animal sanctuary and protected space.
As Neil Degrasse Tyson would say: Never stop looking up. (I also listened to his Great Course Lecture Series…wonderful. You can find it here: My Favorite Universe.)