Earlier this week, I was one of 150 bloggers NASA Social invited to all 10 centers for the Orion Spaceflight preview of the Orion space capsule, and I spent Wednesday, December 3rd, Tweeting and Instagramming what it’s like behind the doors and fences of the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, MD. The NASA Social is a program that provides opportunities for NASA’s social media followers to learn and share information about NASA’s missions, people, and programs.
On Wednesday, I headed to Goddard, where I planned to learn more about the mission and observe the historic first flight of Orion. For those unfamiliar, Orion scheduled to launch aboard a heavy-lift Delta IV rocket, carrying with it the deepest of space ambitions for decades to come. Orion is designed to take people deeper into space than we have ever been before, with hopes in the 2020s, we’ll have a crewed mission to redirect and retrieve an asteroid, and with any luck, land on Mars soon after to personally retrieve data and materials.
For me, it was the first time that I attended a NASA Social and it proved life-changing, inspiring and overwhelming. I learned so much, gained new pals and became inspired to teach the next generation about all the information I gleaned.
I’d like to share a few highlights of my day below and look forward to sharing more stories over the next couple of days. Highlights of the NASA Social include my first visit to the Goddard Center where I got to listen and meet an astrophysicist, a geochemist, environmental testing engineers and public outreach specialists in an intimate discussion setting, as well as meeting space enthusiasts and social media bloggers.
Some things I gleaned at Goddard:
- The Dr. Stephen Rinehart, astrophysicist at the Laboratory for Observational Cosmology, will search for exoplanets not in solar system! The image shows plans for future telescope to aid in August 2017 mission.
- Adrienne Alessandro, communication and public outreach, speaks about the walls being painted black in the Satellite Servicing Center so cameras can see “space” more realistically in tests and while servicing satellites via robotic arm.
- Melissa Trainer, research space scientist, shows us a Sample Manipulation System that’s identical to MarsCuriosity and the pic above, Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Test Bed.
- Jamie Cook, meteorite astrochemisist, states this is literally the oldest thing we will ever touch. Piece of a meteorite at the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory.
- Me. Making a funny face inside the Networks Integration Center. We had to shut down our phones but pictures were allowed.
- Janet Thomas, environmental testing enginerr, gives overview of a very big accelerometer that can generate 30G’s and used to test the space-worthiness of objects up to 5,000 pounds!
- Aerogel Stardust via a comet mission in the Astrobiology Analytical Lab. They’d like more. You can request space materials from the Johnson Space Center to do some research.
- Star Wars vending machine. Couldn’t resist.
- The High Bay Cleanroom, largest in the world where the James Webb Telescope is being assembled
- The people inside are meticulously building the Webb Telescope that will hopefully see exoplanet atmospheres!
- On Thursday, December 4th, my view inside the auditorium for the NASA TV viewing opportunity of the Orion Launch. Unfortunately, the launch was a no-go that day.
- With Aries Keck, Goddard Social Media Team Lead. She was a wonderful host and tour guide for our inquisitive group.
The NASA Social made me realize: The importance of informing the next generation about space exploration. The main purpose of these Socials is to bring in new blood and garner interest from new parties. Which is something I can gladly help with and volunteer my services. So my advise, Follow @NASAsocial and apply for their next social. Be the next person to learn and foster a continued relationship between NASA and the next generation.
Favorite Quotes/Tweets from NASA Social that inspired me: