Sunday, May 20, 2007

Roadtrip to Houston and NASA

I always had been a close follower of the space program, and so this weekend I headed out to Houston in search for the Houston space station. It was a 3+ hr per way) from Austin but that didn't stop me. I woke up early at around 9:30 (tough during the weekends), packed up some light belongings not knowing if I want to spend the night in Houston if I'm tired, or if there's some really cool attraction. Grabbed a quick bite along the way and arrived in Houston around 1 o'clock. The downtown was smaller than I expected with only a handful of skycrapers, the Chinatown was also small - well, I just got back from Asian countries so it wasn't much of a comparison. I did found the highway structures pretty amazing though, along with those T-shaped oil-drills that looked huge from a far distance already. Anyways, toured NASA facilities and it was pretty cool although I had been to Floria NASA earlier. However, most of the exhibits were based on old technologies that most of us are aware already. The only exhibit with new news was only verbal explanatoin but was interesting itself. For some of you space program followers out there:
- The fleet of shuttles will be decommissioned in 2010 where there will be a new design coming. The new project, Constellation will be basd around lander capsules (Orion) and being propelled by reuseable fuesealage rockets.
- People aged 3-20 currently will have a chance for the beginning of spacetravel regularily.
- Currently the ISS (int'l space station) is having its new solar panels readjusted so that the panels will follow the sun at any moment. Instead of of turning the station, the 240ft long panels will rotate itself to absorb solar energy.
- ISS revolves around the Earth at an amazing speed of 17500km/hr, meaning astronauts aboard the station will see 26 sunrise/sunsets in one day!
- The next moonwalk planned in 2020 and a marswalk in 2030.
Hearing all these news of future plans really made me feel excited yet... old. Anyways, after touring NASA; headed to Galveston which as another hr drive from Houston. A small ocean city to the east before heading back to Austin.
BTW, the Mazda6's Cruise controls are pretty sweet. I think it's even better than the controls on my dubber. It was one of the features I highly used on this 8hr total roadtrip. Anyways, here's some pics!


AJEYA RAO said...

Great experience....I missed this trip while i was there. Have to make a trip next time atleast.

Diane Ho said...

How amazing are the highway structures there? would love to know =).

Edmund Lee said...

It is a great trip! Always had been a big fan of the space program and always will :) Godda check it out!

Yeah... i guess i flunked my visual 101 when explaining the Highway to you? ha ha... tell ya next time we meet ;)