Houston, TX - Day 3 - 02/27/2012

Published at 9:55 PM in ,

A capsule model outside the Space Center

This morning we worked on schoolwork...yawn.  Not much excitement for any of us, but necessary.  But that's okay, for when we were done, we headed back to Space Center Houston!  We just didn't have enough time yesterday, so we were excited to go back.

This is where he was upside down.

The first thing we did was let Michael ride a flight simulator game.  There was a stand-alone game system that allowed you to practice and get tips from the instructor prior to playing the game for real.  In the real game, you get inside this little space ship looking thing, and you battle and shoot the bad guys.  You control the 'ship' while you are inside, and part of the fun is making it turn upside down.  Michael isn't a roller coaster fan, so I wondered how this would turn out.  He actually had a really good time!  There was a screen where we could follow what he was doing inside the game, so we took pictures from that.

That's the space potty behind him

Next we went to an exhibit of what it is like to live in space.  The explained what each compartment in the crew quarters was for, how they showered, ate, and took care of, um, personal business.  The original space station (the Sky Lab from the 70s) was equipped with a shower, but due to the weightlessness in space, it was very difficult to shower.  The water floating around also posed a hazard to the equipment on board, so they eventually went to a sponge bath type of system, using moist wipes similar to those used in hospitals.  It was interesting, I hate to say, to learn how they use the restroom in space.  Reminds me a little of the RV....but I digress.

After that enlightening talk, we headed into the Blast Off Theater, where we could experience the effects of blasting off into space.  That was followed by an update of the current mission to Mars, lead by the Rover Curiosity.  The rover launched in November, which we had hoped to see while we were in Miami.  It is an eight month trip to Mars!  Not a quick trip!

Waiting our turn
After the Blast Off Theater, we all went over to another simulation game, and this one accommodated fifteen people.  It was a lot of fun, too.  Then Rachael wanted her turn on the flying game.  She turned herself upside-down at least six or seven times - compared to two times for Michael.  We figured out that she didn't realize she was the one making herself flip like that.  Her face had this half-scared, half-brave expression on it.  You could tell when she finally realized she was doing it to herself.

This is where she was upside down
The last place we visited was the Starship Gallery.  This place houses the main exhibits of the Space Center.  It holds the largest collection of moon rocks in the world, as well as several actual space capsules and training modules.  The actual training module of the Sky Lab was there, and you could walk through it.  There were life-like astronauts in there, and placed in unexpected places, so they scared us at first.  We weren't expecting to see someone looking back at us!

Touching a moon rock
Michael is studying the sky in Science right now.  With each chapter, his Science teacher requires a small project of some sort to be done related the topic.  It can be anything from a poster to a demonstration.  What better to do for this chapter than something from the Space Center?  Michael decided to make a video about the Sky Lab.  Once he is done editing it, he will post it on You Tube and give his teacher the link.  Not too bad to be so far away!  Once it is posted, I will put a link to it here on the blog.

Once we finished in the Starship Gallery, it was time for the Space Center to close.   We went outside to the RV, let the kids ride their scooters in the parking lot, and let Sam play with his frisbee for a little while.  That was pretty funny, because Jim had him on his leash and had to run to keep up with him.  There was a lady waiting for the bus nearby, and she was laughing at their antics.

Jim and Sam playing frisbee

We really enjoyed it.  The Space Center, along with the children's museum, makes Houston, Texas, a great place to visit.  There is a lot more to do in the city, so I do recommend planning a few days here if you ever get the chance to visit.

More pictures in the Photo Gallery.

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