I know. That headline makes you think I’ve lost my mind. I’ve been to Cape Canaveral and seen the space center there. It blew me away. I’ve been to Huntsville, AL. Very cool. I even got giddy last spring when I realized I could see the space shuttle miles away. But Hutchinson, Kansas really brought out my inner space geek. I know. It sounds crazy. And yet, I’m telling you, I was able to feel like an astronaut within minutes of getting there.
One of the first places I saw when I got into Hutchinson was the Kansas Cosmosphere. I had read some of the #140conf materials saying we were going there, but somehow I had tempered expectations to the point of having none. To find a Smithsonian level museum all about space, blew me away! I reverted to the kid my parents took to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL one summer. I walked around with a sense of wonder. Seeing equipment used on America’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions as well as some pieces from the Soviet SOYUZ program and lots of other pieces of history in space exploration! We even had the chance to be among the very first people to see a gallery dedicated to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program.
I absolutely want to go back. For just a little while, I was able to think about the astronauts who helped advance science in untold ways. I was able to stand where some of them stood, to think about so much more than my little piece of the world. I’m ready to go back to the Cosmosphere! Seriously. ALREADY! There is so much to see and do and we were only able to see a tiny bit of it. And I’m thinking how many other people I know who would enjoy seeing the place. Think of these experiences you can have….
- Standing at the base of a Titan Rocket transported me to the lift off of so many rockets I’ve seen! Seeing something that taken so much time and effort to get done
- Checking out the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, I was reminded how groups who seemingly would never be polite to each other can work together for a common goal.
- Manning the loading deck that was used as Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. “Jack” Swigert and Fred W. Haise I could see how important it is to have a great team — both one traveling with you and one at the base!
- Looking at the lunar landing module & a nearby moon rock, I was reminded that you can take steps to get somewhere but sometimes you need to take a giant leap too just like Neil Armstrong did.