Tours, Astronauts and Anti-Motion Sickness Briefings
But that doesn’t mean they’re hanging out at Space Center Houston trying on space helmets or eating freeze-dried ice cream. It’s another full day that started at 7:30 a.m. with a briefing in Building 30 of the Johnson Space Center, home to the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center.
- Meet an astronaut
- Learn how to NOT vomit on a plane once nicknamed the Vomit Comet.
- Tour Johnson Space Center facilities.
- Ground crew member Kevin Lubick has the added fun of competing in an engineering challenge. (More on that later.)
First up: Clayton C. Anderson, an astronaut who has logged 167 days in space and spent five months living and working on the International Space Station. He spoke about his time in space, the effect that time had on his body, and the future of the space program.
“We’re going to build Orion, and we’re going to take it somewhere. It could be the moon, it could be an asteroid, it could be L-2, it could be Mars,” Anderson said. “I’m not big on this destiny thing. I believe with all my heart that we should go and explore, because that’s human destiny. And that’s important. But it’s not the entire reason why we should do this.
“What you guys have to remember is that, back when you were not even born yet, we were doing the Apollo program, and a lot of the technology we enjoy on Earth today is born from that program — not from getting to the moon, but from figuring out how to get to the moon. The technology development that occurs along the way, that’s what’s significant. That’s what people pay their tax dollars for. Apollo paid back $7 to roughly $1 in tax money. Apollo was a good investment.”
He also told the students — many of whom will be flying on a zero-g plane this week — about his own experiences on NASA’s Weightless Wonder.
“The first time I flew on the zero-g plane was in 1981 and I was a rookie engineer,” he told the crowd, many of whom will be flying on the plane on Wednesday. “The first time you go, they don’t let you take any [anti-motion sickness medications]. Unfortunately, they sat me next to a gal who puked on the seventh parabola. Don’t sit next to someone who pukes early. Find someone who pukes late. Because if you sit by someone who pukes early, you’re going to puke early.” He made it to the 33rd parabola and then held on through 44.
But don’t worry, he laughed. “You’re going to have a blast.”