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Welcome to Texas
24th Apr 2008
Houston and the space centre

Today I drove from Lake Charles to Houston.  My first stop was at the Johnson Space Center, NASA's mission control and training centre on the edge of the city.  The centre was a little child-oriented, with too many hot dog stands and ball pits.  It was a little disappointing to discover only late the interesting stuff hidden away around the back of the kiddies' play stuff, and then to have just a short time to see all the exhibits. 

Although the museum side was in a separate section from the real control room, we went around the actual mission control area.  One of the most interesting places was the original 1960s control room where all the famous events occured.   Did you know that the two IBM mainframes that controlled the moon landings had just 200kb of RAM each?  My $7 walmart digital watch probably has that much.

We saw the Saturn V rocket that had sat outside in the elements for 20 years before being restored by the Smithsonian.  Wow, that's a huge beast, the engines of the first stage are as tall as a room.

I caught a glimpse of moon rock before being tasered out (at 16:55) as the place closed.  I wish I'd seen more mook rocks and fewer models of astronaughts.


Houston itself is HUGE. It's twice the area of Atlanta, which is sprawling enough, and the city proper has 4 times the population or Atlanta proper (although the metro areas are around the same at 5 million).

The hostel here in Houston is pretty dull.  No vibe whatsoever.  I went out for buffet style BBQ - beef brisket, pork ribs, 2 veg and bread, beer; $15. Can't beat it. Then I saw a Beatles cover band at a club up the road, I'd never before seen kids dancing in the original 60s Beatles style. 

Next: Houston downtown, Rice university
Previous: Baton Rouge, LSU, physics is too easy here

Diary Photos

Welcome to Texas

Big F-off bridge, Texas

Mission control room, Houston

NASA training centre, Houston, TX

NASA training centre, Houston, TX

NASA training centre, Houston, TX

NASA training centre, Houston, TX

Robotic arm, NASA training centre, Houston, TX

Saturn V engine

Saturn V

Saturn V (2nd stage) engine

Saturn V (3rd stage) engine

Saturn V crew module

Rocket man

Space shuttle cockpit

BBQ self-service BEER, Houston

BBQ dinner, Houston

BBQ cafertieria, Houston

Beatles band, Houston

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