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50 States, Day 285

  Kennedy Space Center, 41 miles

"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow."
~Robert Goddard

Staggering. I stood in the huge building and stared up at the Apollo rocket, frozen. Incredible. What kind of people believe, before it becomes a reality, that they can send something like this into space? Fifty five years after the Wright brothers successfully got us off the ground, we're launching rockets into the heavens. 

The Kennedy Space Center does "amazing" well. Everything's amazing. Space shuttles. Trips to the moon, Mars, discoveries-pushing and crushing limits of physics. 

The Vehicle Assembly Building didn't disappoint either. It's so large- over five hundred feet high- that weather patterns have developed and in the past it has rained inside the building. They fixed that, because it's one of the reasons they built the building. It's really a huge enclosed crane. It contains over a hundred lifting devices, and one photo shows three cranes, one with a 325 ton capacity and a hydraulic rotating hook to lift shuttles and rotate them for assembly. Who thinks like this? Thank God, we do.

Halfway through I felt cheated. The media saturates us with Lady Gaga, the (shudder) Kardashians and school shootings ad nauseum. Why don't we tout the sciences? Seems like the only science we heard was when the Hubble telescope launched and was out of focus. By the way, they fixed that, and the 3D I-Max movie about it was captivating, as they replaced computers and put a 'contact lens' on it, after docking with it in space at 17,500 miles per hour. 

And Mars! The space ship reaches their atmosphere (4%) and sends the message to Houston that it's getting ready to land. It takes 14 minutes for the message to get to Earth. By then it's landed or crashed, so it's on its own. It deploys parachutes that slow it to 1,000, too fast. Then it activates rockets to slow it to 200, but can't land with them because the dust would foul everything. So it hangs the Rover from a tether and drops it to the surface, lets go and rockets away. Who thinks of this stuff?  

I kicked myself a few times today as well, as one of my 'bucket list' goals was to see a shuttle launch, and they have been mothballed. However, they're talking about launching an SLS (can't remember what it stands for!) and return to the moon. I better be there.

If you like construction, factory stuff, assembling cool things, science, or blowing things up (rockets are bombs with a direction) then get ourself to the KSC. But wait until after July 4 this year. Space Shuttle Atlantis will be featured on their $100 million new exhibit.

And now, rested and ready, Quilter Girl!

I enjoyed my day at camp.  I caught up on emails, worked on spreadsheets for taxes, paid bills until I ran out of envelopes, talked to a couple of other campers and read a great book.  I have no regrets about hanging here; I need days like this every now and then.  Tax time comes even for us who are traveling. 


Tomorrow we head North in search of St. Augustine, a city with a rich heritage. See you then!


Mel said...

Kevin, SLS stands for Space Launch System. Here's a link to some info about it:

You, like me, suffer from CRS: Can't Remember, um... Stuff!

BTW, since we're on the subject of astronauts... "What did one astronaut say to the other astronaut?" "Hey... Let's do launch sometime!"

Mel said...

Looks like you'll need to copy and paste the web address into the browser, then click on the site to open it.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Yes, SLS,! And you're free to come along. Put it on your calendar, 2020 and we'll ride there, see the launch and have a great time. Like you said, we can do launch.

Mel said...

Launch sounds good! Give me a more specific launch date so I can plan a launch party prior to launching in that direction. BTW, thanks for the seven years notice... that's about how much time I need at work to request vacation time.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

I don't wnat to sound negative, but we'll probably schedule it and they'll delay it a couple of days due to weather, and the whole schedule is thrown out the window.