My wife and I took a trip to the
California Science Center
Natural History Museum in
Los Angeles, CA. in the last week of August. These two places are within
walking distance of each other which makes it nice. The Ca. Science
Center use to be called the Science and Industry Museum back in the 60's
and 70's, which was the last time I was their so I was way overdue for a
The one thing that I really wanted to see was the Space
Shuttle Endeavour that the Science Center recently added less than a
year ago. And anything science or space related because both are very
interesting to me. Another thing the Science Center has is an IMAX
theater with three different movies to choose from. We checked out the
one called 'Hubble 3D' which is about the Hubble telescope and how the
space shuttle played a pivotal roll in helping fix it. I highly
recommend this movie because it was great.
The Science Center has lots of interactive and hands on
stuff for kids and there are all kinds of things to see and do for the
whole family at both places. The cost to park is 10 dollars but the Science
Center is free to enter. There are two places to eat inside (Mc Donald's
and a cafe) along with a big gift store that has all kinds of science
related items for all ages. I took a bunch of pictures
that day (what a surprise) and here are some of my favorites for you to
check out. Also some of the pictures are clickable to get a larger image
but I'll let you know about those along the way.
|Almost everyone that visits the Science
Center will pass under this structure which has colored glass at the
top. As the sunlight moves across the sky, you get different colors at
any given time.
Here you can see what it looks like in the morning hours
of the day. The IMAX theater is to the left and the Science Center is to
the right. The first thing we did was check out the space shuttle
display which costs two dollars each but if you buy tickets to the IMAX
theater you get a combo deal which makes the shuttle visit free, which is what
Upon entering the Space Shuttle display, one of the
first things you see is this huge picture of the shuttle Endeavour going
thru downtown Los Angeles. Moving space shuttle Endeavour across the
United States was a huge undertaking. Endeavour first flew on the back
of a Boeing 747 from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Edwards Air Force Base
in California, while making several stops along the way. After landing
at Los Angeles International Airport, some big hurdles had to be
overcome to get the shuttle through Los Angeles to its new home at the
California Science Center. Navigating the streets of Los Angeles and
Inglewood required the guidance and skill of over 100 people. Police
controlled traffic, engineers and technicians lifted power lines and
took down traffic lights and some 400 trees along the way while
approximately 1.5 million people lined the sidewalks to celebrate the
event. Photographers and filmmakers were on hand to document this
once-in-forever moment in history.
These are the actual tires that were on the shuttle and you're aloud to
touch them. Note the wear on most of them.
Even the people that go into space recycle!
When you gotta go, ya gotta go! Something you may not
think about is how do they go to the bathroom in space? Turns out that
in microgravity waste doesn't plop right into the toilet like it does on
Earth. Poop curls, sticks and doesn't fall off (I'm glad I didn't have
to find that out). Urine clings to any surface it touches and forget
about water for flushing because water won't stay in the toilet.
This unit is called a Waste Collecting System (WCS) and
has a high tech way of separating waste from the astronaut. For both
peeing and pooping, airflow is used to help pull waste from the body and
whisk it to the right bag or compartment for storage. In other words it
all comes down to suction here. Now if your a guy reading this... I bet
I know what you were just thinking :-]
This is a mockup of the Mission Control center in Huston, Texas. You
can't touch anything but it looks pretty cool.
Here's the space shuttle which was awesome! The shuttle
is 78 feet wide, 57 feet high and 122 feet long (longer than three
school buses) and is much larger that I expected once I walked through the
doors. I couldn't stand far enough away to see the whole thing but I'll
walk around and show you all of it.
My first impression after walking around it was how dusty and dirty it
was. But that makes sense because this is exactly how it would look
after a mission in space. The size of the cargo bay and the amount of
science and engineering that went into this is amazing.
The first flight for Endeavour was in May of
1992 and it's mission was to capture a satellite that was stranded in an
unstable orbit since it's deployment in March 1990. It took the crew of
seven astronauts more than one try but was successful after a couple of
tries. Endeavour flew 24 flights during its lifetime and has flown over
115 million miles total. To give you an idea of how far that is, our sun
is 93 million miles from Earth and Endeavour was the last Space Shuttle
to be built.