Friday, July 20, 2007

National Air and Space Museum


Today July 20 is very a special day, anniversary of the first Moon landing. A scientist was invited to display the spacesuit at America's NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM in Washington. It is an enormous unexpected honour to be in the same hall with Apollo 11 and Spaceship One. There are enough things to see here to keep a little girl busy all day, and enough photos to fill a week of blog posts.

Above is a recreation of the historic day in 1969. (This lunar module hasn't been to the Moon either.) The camera doesn't show the crowds taking photographs. A scientist never expects to be surrounded by more cameras than Jessica Biel. It is about time that our generation got excited about going to the Moon. This time women will go too!

There are children out there, nearly two generations who have never seen people walk on the Moon. Even many of their teachers were born after 1969, and have no memory to pass on to students. Many don't even know what a spacesuit is for, but they all think it looks cool. Why should our generation be deprived of the Moon?

Below is the main hall with the X-1 and Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh had private investors believing in him too, and Yeager wore a primitive counter-pressure suit. There is an almost instinctive attraction to the spacesuit. From the accents I heard today, people from every part of the world are fascinated by Space. We simply can not let down the many people who believe in us.

This day has been exciting beyond all expectation, Thanks to all the nice people met today. Thanks to the NASM staff and Michael Belfiore for suggesting and arranging this. Be sure to read Michael's new book Rocketeers.

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9 Comments:

Blogger nige said...

There's one of those Lunar Landers, complete with the two astronauts, at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London. I don't know how long it has been there, but it was there when I first visited that museum about 30 years ago.

Facing the simulated piece of Moon surface where all this is set up, there are some information tables which include the famous quotation:

"Space Travel is Utter Bilge"

which was made by the British Astronomer Royal (Sir Richard Wooley) and was quoted by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, 3 January 1956, the year before Sputnik.

It it wasn't for WWII in getting the V2 developed and the Cold War space race to beat the Russians to the Moon, it's hard to imagine anyone would have got to the Moon even by now.

2:52 PM  
Blogger nige said...

The new spacesuit looks as if it is solid metal in these photos, like armour. I read somewhere that it took ages (several hours?) for Aldrin and Armstrong to get into their bulky, multilayered spacesuits in the Eagle. I don't know if this was partly because of the cramped conditions inside the Eagle, or if it was because they had a lot of safety checks to do on the suit's seals and valves before they could decompressurize and open the hatch?

7:44 AM  
Anonymous a quantum diaries survivor said...

Hi Louise,

wow! It must have been really a lot of fun to demonstrate that space suit to the crowd! Happy space anniversary then...

Cheers,
T.

9:52 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Hi Nige and Tommaso. Even present spacesuirs reqtire hours to put on, with assistance. I csn dress myself in less than hour, proving false that old axiom that women take longer. Getting out of the LEM they found that the suits were a tight squeeze in the hatch, their highest heartrates were trying to get out.

Thanks, Tommaso. I hope to see Europe make many contributions to Space in the future, including the Columbus module and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. I would be happy to sell them a good spacesuit.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Darnell Clayton said...

Hey Louise,

You almost like like the silver surfer wearing that suit, without the surf board of course!

I [can] dress myself in less than hour, proving false that old axiom that women take longer. Getting out of the LEM they found that the suits were a tight squeeze in the hatch, their highest heartrates were trying to get out.

Spending several hours dressing yourself in a spacesuit takes out all the fun of "getting dirty" off world. Especially in an emergency (can you imagine them receiving a 90 min. warning and having no time to dress?).

Quick Question: Since your suit is silverish, will that collect too much heat when in space?

5:37 PM  
Blogger alex kaplan said...

It is made silverish in order to emmit light,not to collect it

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Whenever I see you in that suit, I am reminded of this ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O26snSXNKLQ

10:44 AM  
Blogger alex kaplan said...

:)

10:32 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Great video Sam, especially the cheesy old-style effects. I can sell them a better looking suit. We need more women in spacesuits.

4:10 AM  

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