Last week was an exciting week. I began the week with a visit to Greensboro to see friends and share some polar science with the kids at B’nai Shalom. I tried out several different lessons with all the classes at B’nai
Shalom from the PreK to the 7th Grade. I also took a set of Extreme Cold Weather Gear for the kids to try on, which they loved!! In addition to visiting school, I also hung out with lots of good friends and visited some of my favorite Greensboro spots – Natty Greene’s and the Lindley Park Filling Station.
On Friday, the Fellows had a field trip to Goddard Space Center in Maryland. We started our day by taking the certification class so that we could be certified to handle lunar and meteorite samples. So now I can request a sample disk that has pieces of moon rock and soil to do presentations at schools. After lunch we got a tour of the center, which is huge! We saw the communication room where communications are routed between the shuttle, the International Space Station, and various NASA centers. We also saw the the control room for the Hubble Space Telescope. A real highlight of the day was standing outside of NASCOM (the communications center) watching the launch of Atlantis on the screens while the sound was pumped live through the speakers in the hall for us. I would say it was second only to actually getting to see the launch live in Florida.
After the launch we went over to another building where satellites are tested, assembled, and packaged for the trip to the launch pad. The world’s largest Class 10000 clean room is in that building as well as equipment used to put components through extensive testing. The testing facility includes a giant sound test chamber, a vibration chamber, thermovacuum chambers, and a giant centrifuge. All of these things are used to test satellites in all of the conditions that they will experience during launch and while they are in space.