January 24, 2015

The Metro, the Bus, and the Space Shuttle

Here are some random thoughts and adventures I've had this week.

The Metro
I've been riding the Metro to and from work every day.  It is awesome.  Runs on time, takes me two blocks from the museum, and in a couple months the Smithsonian pays for all of my commute.  But every day when I ride it I see something new.  

L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station
This week as I was coming in to work I had a couple thoughts.  The Metro is where you can be like Indiana Jones every day.  I haven’t done it yet but all the time I see people sprinting to the shutting doors and sliding in sideways just as they shut.  Usually it is a guy and usually they get that same goofy grin that Indiana Jones had.  

Also today I started a new game.  I watch people and see if I can pick out who the aliens are, like in the movie Men in Black.  Today I think I spotted three.  

The Bus
I've ridden the bus a couple times and it is pretty good.  Today was a different story.  The Udvar-Hazy Center (Another branch of the Air and Space Museum) was having their open house today.  To get there you take the Metro all the way to the end (an hour ride) then take a 30 minute bus ride to get to the museum.  Driving is a far better option, but since I don’t have a car, it wasn’t an option today.  I got up early got to the Metro no problem then I got on the bus.  It was the drivers first day and she had not a clue about where she was going.  We made it to our first stop okay, then the wheels fell off (figuratively).  At the first stop she asked another bus driver how to get to the next stop.  We made that one fine and made it to the airport okay.  Then she asked the three of us on the bus where the next stop was.  I told her it was the Air and Space Museum.  That threw her for a loop and she asked me if I knew how to get there.  I told her no.  She took off driving and looking at presumably a map.  Then asked again if I knew where to go.  When I told her I wasn’t the bus driver, she quit asking.  Then I got on Google maps and watched her blow past the turn.  We headed to the next stop.  At that point she got off and talked to someone and they had us get on another bus.  No problem except this bus was finishing a route so we went back to the airport, then finally made it to the museum.  

The Udvar-Hazy Center

SR-71 and Space Shuttle Discovery

Absolutely amazing!  I had been there before but not since they had gotten the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Today was open house day so everyone could go backstage and see the refurbishment lab, the archives, cold storage, and several other places.  They had some artifacts on display that normally aren’t including the filming model of the Star Trek Enterprise.  
Starship Enterprise
While I was there I watched part of a talk about the Space Shuttle Discovery and when it was over I got introduced to the curator.  I didn't ask if I could go inside . . . yet.  

Here are a few of my favorite pictures I took today.  If you could like to see more, click on the link below.
Flak Bait: WWII plane they are currently restoring
They couldn't be there with me today, but I was sure thinking about them.
Sector 7 Badge: I wonder how long I have to work here before I get one of these?
Udvar-Hazy Open House Pictures

Challenger and Columbia
It seems like every day I have some type of wow moment.  It is one of the perks of getting to be in the museum before it is open.  I’m currently working on a show for April about World War I.  I wanted to learn more so I went downstairs and spent an hour going through the exhibit before the museum was open.  I read everything and got to see the amount of detail that they put in the exhibit.  

Friday I took my good camera to work to take some pictures of the Spirit of St. Louis.  I also took a minute to walk through the Moving Beyond Earth gallery.  This is where we will film some of our shows.  I’ve been in the gallery a lot.  As I was looking around I noticed tucked in a corner of a display case was a mission patch from the Space Shuttle Challenger.  It was mounted with a small American Flag.  When I read the plaque it was on, I was stunned.  This was a flag and patch that were recovered from the wreckage.  A few feet away was a patch from the Columbia.  

Mission Patch and Flag that Flew on the Challenger
And to finish up, these last two pictures are for any of my students who are reading this. More poop bags. The green one is from Skylab and the other one is from Apollo. If you look closely you can see the finger slot for the "plop" on the Apollo bag. It is toward the top.
Skylab Poop Bag
Apollo Poop Bag

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