Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happily Lost in Space

I spent part of the day this week at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and it is a great way to get totally consumed by space. From the moment you leave the car -- you delve into the space program.  First, I spotted some of the early rockets in the 'rocket garden,' next, I went to a short talk by a former shuttle astronaut, Bob Springer, and then it was over to the Space Shuttle Simulation ride.  Pretty cool ride, by the way.  As a bonus, Shuttle Discovery was sitting on launch pad 39B -- reminding me of the days when I covered the shuttle launches for the AP. There's nothing like watching a shuttle lift off the pad -- from about as close as you can get, safely -- about three miles. The sheer power of seeing, hearing and feeling it -- left me almost speechless the first time I experienced it.

Everything around is about space -- and, of course, that's the whole point -- but I found myself getting completely lost in space and forgetting about everything else. I felt like a kid again -- and dreaming about flying in space and traveling to places like Mars and the Moon.

The whole visitor complex is well organized and I don't mean for this to be a plug for KSC, but they've done a great job -- making the exhibits interesting and informative. For instance, I had forgotten how close Neil Armstrong came to not walking on the moon that July day in 1969 -- after technical problems almost fouled everything up.

By the end of the day, I had felt as though I'd traveled to outer space and back -- and, to a degree, thanks to the exhibits -- understood how, technically, it is accomplished.

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