Ever get invited to a party and realized you weren’t one of the “cool” people there?
It generally doesn’t bother me, but my one shot at the AWESOME Nerd Superbowl, aka the social media event at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, awakened my geekish self to want to appear cool to the cool crowd. The big #NASASocial #SpaceBowl was an invitational one day event just for about 50 social media and news folks. The event was on the Tuesday before Superbowl 2017 also happening in Houston that Saturday.
Check in was at 7:30am.
Yes, that is a time that people wake on purpose. Crazy right?!
We all signed in and got press passes.
Huh, press pass? Did they mean to give one to me?
In the auditorium, there were people from PBS, Yahoo News(an exNFL player turned comedian), astronauts, the BBC, semi famous authors, museum educators, and… well… me. I’m guessing I got picked because my twitter numbers are over 20,000 because that’s the only thing that makes sense. (Hooray for the Twitter Legends class!) It’s not like I’m Yahoo News or something. Although, sometimes, I like to daydream that I’m that big of a deal… traveling the world, eating only the finest bonbons, having fresh flowers in every room, paying someone daily to brush my hair once in the morning and once at night, you know the things that bigwigs have.
I digress… often.
Back to the day at hand… NASA had a full day planned for our group – a talk from the only astronaut to have also played in the NFL…
It also included a live chat with the astronauts in the International Space Station(ISS), a guided tour of the Space Center Houston, a tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory(NBL) with Q&As with 3 NASA contractors, tours of the the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (Building 9), and a tour of the mission control currently being used along with the historic mission control center for the moon landing.
It was a packed morning/early afternoon!
One of my favorite things to see were the robotics research area in Building 9 where they were working on a person shaped robot that will be used in the ISS. In the same building was the Orion capsule that will carry people to and from Mars (YEP, Mars!). A mock up of the ISS was also part of this particular facility tour. I can’t imagine living in that box for a year! Or in the Orion space capsule below for 3 years!!!
Another oh so cool part of the day was the NBL with the giant pool with over 6 million gallons of water and made me want to put on sunglasses and hop in with a floaties. NBL was where I got to try on a helmet and a glove of an actual space suit that had been used. It was also where we got to check out the “closet” of sorts for space suits. SO COOL! Just FYI, space suits are made with a temperature regulation system. Something my husband has always dreamed of having for everyday use. Anyone else hate going from summer temperatures to freezing air conditioning?
The last stop for our tour group was to see Mission Control. Somehow they let us touch the mission control panels for the historic moon landing! WHAT?!!! I was so glad to have snuck in with these cool people. It was like I somehow got on the list and the bouncer waved me by. We didn’t just look through the glass viewing room but got to go into the mission control room and pick up the antiquated phones, sit on the chairs, and touch buttons and more!
This day was full of nerd crack and I snorted it up!
I’m so thankful that NASA chose me as one of the participants. It was amazing to see how NASA’s research is making strides not just in helping humanity branch out to other living choices in our Universe but also extrapolating their space findings to be used to better humanity on Earth. Check out more about NASA social media and other ways to connect here.