NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Open House

On Saturday Ghoulishcharm, Xie Lanthia, and myself went to NASA’s Glenn Research Center Open house celebration. They were throwing this in celebration of 50 years of NASA. We had been planning to go for a few weeks and we managed to make it. This is out of the realm of normality for us. Xie and I woke up early (for a Saturday) and got around taking care of the pets, eating a snack, and getting out the door surprisingly well. We actually left when we were planning on leaving. We drove an hour to go pick up Ghoulish and proceeded on the hour drive to NASA, all three in a Miata (don’t ask but I can say it involved clowns and midgets).

At the halfway mark we stopped at Wal-Mart in Oberlin to take a stretch and compare prices with some stuff we were considering buying online. At this point Xie realized that she forgot her wallet. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but we needed government issued identification to get into NASA. Since we were a half hour from home we boogied back down there to get her wallet. While there I managed to snarf down half a peanut butter sandwich, a bag of chips, a candy bar, and half a Pepsi (meals for the road time warrior). After a nice stretch we all greased up and squeezed into the car again. We took the highway north this time and about half way there was a tremdous down pour. At this point we were considering that this whole fiasco may be a bad idea. We proceeded and decided we would play it by ear.

We made it to the Cleveland I-X center where designated parking was and it slowed to a drizzle. We decided that the sky looked like it was clearing up and we would continue on this expedition. After going through the ID checkpoint we were instructed to wait for the next shuttle bus to take us onto the base. While waiting there a torrential downpour happened and we all got partially soak trying to stand underneath the overhang, but not trying to crowd people to much. Politeness versus being wet, the ultimate conundrum. After about ten minutes we were on the bus and driving over to the base.

The first open building we wandered into turned out to be kid activities, no good. We wandered real quick to see if anything interesting was in there and there wasn’t. Moving on. The next round was trying to find bathrooms. There was porta potties, but none of us really like porta potties. We were at NASA we wanted to use astronaut restrooms. We migrated to the visitor’s center and managed to score normal every day bathrooms. I didn’t get to pee like an astronaut through, *sigh*. On a side note could you imaging the red neck shuttle that would actually have a porta potty in it? Ewwwwww.

After the visitors center (Which had a Skylab capsule) we wandered into the wind tunnel, which can generate wind at three times the speed of sound. We saw the NASA bike. We went to the zero gravity research center (it’s really a big hole in the ground) and then decided it was break time. We hit the NASA cafeteria, ironically in the actual cafeteria nothing is freeze dried. We had had pop and a banana that cost a total of 6.00. I think I could get a better deal in NYC.

Our feet were getting tired so we decided to skip some of the other buildings and just hit the hangar. In the hangar was a few proto type planes and battling robots. I guess the local high school robotic competition was happening that day in the hangar. There was also an inflatable life size replica of the Gemini capsule, bigger then I thought it was. Ghoulish managed to get in a discussion with someone at NASA over Pluto. We always thought Pluto got the bum rap, “The planet Pluto has become the planetoid plute”, what? It didn’t get smaller? Why did we have to change is designation. I guess the EU agrees with us. THe EU is voting to reinstate it as a planet, Americans don’t get the right to say what a planet is or isn’t. GO PLUTO!

After the hangar we got back on the shuttle bus and headed back to the car leaving NASA for the day. In two weeks we are are heading out to NASA’s Plum Brook center to see the world’s largest vacuum chamber. Xie wants to go inside, but I dont’ think they will let her. Ghoulish will continue his hunt for space monkeys, though he swears they are hidden away at Glenn Research Center. So there are no space monkeys, no floating in anti gravity, and no freeze dried food in the cafeteria. We had an enjoyable time and brought home some NASA swag to boot. See you in two weeks NASA

I also made a Flickr Album of all the pictures I took.

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