We were in Houston last weekend. A good friend was (finally) getting hitched; we were single guys together during residency 11 (gulp) years ago, two Asian men who had trouble fitting in with the ladies scene. We both thought we were going to die single. And then I met Kristin, but poor Dean stayed single for all these years. Through fellowship and a subfellowship. And so, when I got an invitation card to his wedding out of the blue, we jumped.
This also gave me the opportunity to visit Houston, Texas, for the first time. And as a bonus, we were able to make time to visit the Johnson Space Center. It has been a lifelong dream of mine being a space nut to visit someday, and the day finally came.
It was a huge facility, which still actively operates as NASA's mission control center and astronaut training center, with a humongous exhibition of space memorabilia, models and mockups and also actual space craft.
Like Kristin said, I was running around wide-eyed like a kid in Disneyland. Though I wasn't too impressed when neither my wife nor sister-in-law who was with us knew what NASA meant. Neither were spacebuffs. "Err, North and South Agency? National Air and Space Agency?"
They had, on-loan from the Smithsonian, an actual Saturn V rocket, the 3-staged rocket that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
Until one actually saw it, you didn't realize how large this sucker was. I could fit my car in one of the rocket nozzles. Talk about explosive gases.
It was somewhat of a challenge though to be visiting with two little kids, and to overlap this with naptime. And so, 4 hours was about all we could do. However for those 4 hours we were there, I was in heaven. It was awesome and yet humbling to see and read about the space program, and how far we have come as a species, and yet you wonder about where humanity is next headed.
"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the staship Enterprise..."