Today we visited
Space Center Houston.
This is not the same as the
Johnson Space Center,
but its web site describes it as
"the Official Visitors Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center."
We discovered that SCH and JSC are not the same thing when
we turned into the wrong parking lot, and security guards
had to scuttle us away. (Us and a long line of others.)
There is a
tram ride that you can take through JSC,
and it includes an inside view of the Mission Control room that
was used from 1965-1995, a stop at the grove of trees that
memorializes the crews of the Challenger and the Columbia, and
a stop at Rocket Park, which includes two upright rockets that were
designed for the Mercury and Apollo programs, I think. Not quite
yet ready for exhibition, but visible through a dirty window, was
a large Saturn V rocket that is being restored. This rocket had
been scheduled for use on the scuttled Apollo 18 project.
Space Center Houston also includes lots of hands-on activities for
the kids, including a neat section with sensors of various types
(heat, motion, wind, sound, etc.) that demonstrate how a robot
might be given senses. There were also activities like jungle
gyms and large helical slides to keep the littlest tykes busy.
We got to see actual Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules, and
full-size mockups of the Shuttle bridge and Skylab. There were
also capsule stories of each of the missions through Apollo 17.
I bought a patch from the Mercury 9 mission. This was a little
before my time, but I never knew that each Mercury mission had
the number 7 associated with it, as in "Friendship 7" and so on.
I bought this particular patch because it says "Faith 7" on it,
and apparently the pilot was a Christian.
After finishing up at the Space Center, we ran around Friendswood
trying to find the last open UPS Store so we could send some
packages home, but we got lost and the packages will have to wait
until Wednesday. Not wanting to get back into the Houston traffic
snarl, we headed out to the coast to leave town trhough the La Porte
area. When we made a wrong turn there, we found the Runway Grill.
We hoped to find the great Texas steak there, but I was a little
disappointed. We both ordered the same thing, rib eye medium with
baked potato, but while Mary's was a bright pink, mine had no pink
at all. Mary really enjoyed hers, but we both agreed this was not
something to send someone out of their way for.
On down the I-10 toward Louisiana, we stopped in Orange, which turns
out to be the last city before you cross the river away from Texas.
Our Ramada was supposed to have WiFi but I only got it to work just
once for a few seconds. Sigh.