Yes, yes I did. I saw real astronauts! AWESOME! But first things first…
A trip to Texas, particularly Houston, isn’t complete without a visit to the widely known Space Center. Leaving without stopping by would be like going to NYC and not seeing Times Square. So basically, you might as well stay at home.
Opened in 1992, the Space Center Houston houses a vast amount of attractions, including space artifacts and mockups, and it was partially designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, thus even the little ones are able to enjoy the place.
The main attraction is the tram tour of the JSC which will take you around part of the NASA establishment and includes visits to some major buildings:
- The old Mission Control Centers – which you can only see from the old room that was meant to host family members of astronauts who where on a mission, or VIPs like the Queen of England and the president of the US when something major was bound to happen;
- The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility – where you can see a mockup of the ISS (International Space Station) and engineers working their magic on new projects;
- the Rocket Park – where you’ll see two rockets standing tall right outside the huge angar that houses a restored Saturn V, which for those of you like me that didn’t know much about all the NASA history, is basically a real giant rocket that is now laying down and separated into three pieces. One word: massive. Ok, two words: massive & impressive.
The tour guides explain everything thoroughly so even if you weren’t aware of the existence of a thing called NASA and that men have been going back and forth to a floating house in space at a distance of 330km from your feet for decades, you will be able to come out with a decent amount of knowledge about the whole deal. For someone like me, daughter of an all-space-related-things fanatic, it was like being in Candyland. I knew something going in, I knew 10x more coming out. Though I might have forgotten some numbers and names… Hey, it happens!
The rest of the Center houses many other interesting things, like a large format theater and a high definition one where they show different movies about the history of the space station and the actual job that gets done up there. If you’re lucky, or if you planned ahead, you might be able to assists to a talk given by one real (retired) astronaut, where he’ll tell you about his/her incredible experience, living and working in zero gravity conditions and eating dehydrated food for weeks.
The Starship Gallery is probably the #2 thing you must visit before leaving, because it displays not only space related artifacts and mockups, but also real Moon rocks! Well…that is if men really made it that far…Can you imagine if those rocks where actually from somewhere in Utah or some rocky desert in the middle of Asia and given such huge reputation? That’d be hilarious. Oh yeah, and upsetting!
But anyway, the major part of all this is that…
Tah-dah! Yes! I got a NASA badge! The cherry on the freaking top!
But guys, I have so much to tell and to show you that I wouldn’t want you to fall asleep on your keyboard so I will keep the juicy stuff for the next post, which as you may have guessed includes the fact that I saw real astronauts doing their training.
Come back to read all about it, or just go ahead and subscribe, so that your e-mail will remind you to do so!