Day 5: I visited the Mission Control Center

I didn’t get to go inside. But I peered in from the viewing room, which is above Mission Control. I didn’t know this, but very few people are allowed inside Mission Control and media is very rarely allowed. I learned that from Rob (The one who kept saying, “Franco Harris.”). If you look closely at the picture, you will also see little toys or objects up on top of the desks, next to the names of the missions. I believe they’re the mission mascots 0r something like that!

I did a lot of odds and ends today. Still largely related to social media, but not all of it. I finished up writing the little article I had been assigned (yay!) and have a new one to head into working on next week. I want to share it with you, since I’m proud of it, but I really can’t. It’s a very odd situation to be in, not being able to share something I want to share.

Next week, my mentor, Megan, won’t be at Johnson. She’s off to do some fantastic social media training with the rest of the NASA social media people. (There’s a lot of them. At least one head person for each center, and I would imagine three or four under each of them!)

So, for next week, I’ve been assigned to the Education team. I met about five of them today when I wandered into the building for a meeting and couldn’t find the person I was supposed to meet with. So, one of the five called the person I was supposed to be meeting with and it turned out that she was off site.

Not wanting to leave me stranded and waiting for her, these five took me on a mini social media photoshoot to kickoff the beginning of one of their education programs for community colleges. It’s the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. That’s quite the mouthful! But it’s a pretty fantastic program. If students complete it and do well, they get invited to Johnson for a four day event. Alicia, who explained it to me, said that those four days are all about giving the students a taste of what it’s like to work at NASA.

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During this social media excursion (where they kept cracking jokes and swinging around the selfie-stick) I got to try on one of those vintage flight suits! No picture at the moment, but I might be popping up on NASA’s education social media one day.

During this trek, I also got to see my very first wild armadillo! I thought they were nocturnal, but there were two out and about. Very odd little animals, but kind of adorable too.

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On my way back from this outing, I saw someone feeding Cheez-Its to these weird duck things. He dumped the entire bag out for them.

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They were very happy birds.

Other than that, I would say the day was pretty uneventful, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I did get to see the setup (sort of) for an in-flight interview. That’s when one of the astronauts talks and his image is streamed down to Earth.

There was a time limit on how long the astronaut could talk for (I don’t know the exact number). I thought that the time limit was just because they didn’t want a long conversation, but the second the conversation went overtime, the image from the space station just disappeared! Wonder what made that happen? (I know, loss of signal, but why did they lose signal?) I didn’t get the time to ask the question this week, but hopefully next week!

P.S. When I was biking to NASA this morning, I paused to take a photo of the Longhorns that I always pass by. They were encased in fog and a fair distance away. But I still thought I could get a good photo. I reached for my backpack to get my phone and, instead, I touched mud. Ew.

My poncho was covered in mud.

I shook off my hand, and I biked on. Maybe you’ll get a picture next week. (I wear a poncho because the path I ride gets a little swampy when it rains.)

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