Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We're Back!

My goodness, it's been quite a long time since we've written an post! However, we are back now and ready to write more stories and have more adventures. In the next few days we will be cleaning out the spam-comment cobwebs that seem to have taken over and will be back in action.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)! part 4

(Make sure to read part 1, part 2 , and part 3!!) 

Day 3 (August 30, 2011)
These days are long and exhausting! Today I had some oatmeal before our mission. I was Commander and Scientist on the Space Station so I got to do some fun experiments. I made some polyurethane foam and got to ride in a chair that spun for 30 seconds with a blindfold on. That showed the rapid movements of our eyes.  

After that, a guest speaker named Alex McCool talked to us. He worked for NASA as a propulsion engineer and helped the US get to the moon. We also went to a museum and learned about space flight starting in the 1940s. I also used some of this time to go to the gift shop. Then I had some lunch which was delicious. A pulled pork sandwich, french fries, broccoli in cheese sauce, and apple crisp. After lunch we got to go on the Multi-Axis Trainer. I was nervous because we just ate and the lighter you are the faster you turned but it did not make you dizzy or nauseous at all! It was awesome! Then we had supper and I had some macaroni and cheese, which I could tell was Stouffer’s – my favorite.

After supper, we took a bus to Aviation Challenge where we got to be pilots in a simulator. It was so hard! There were so many buttons and you had to remember what speeds were necessary to do different things, so, basically I learned that I am not cut out to be a pilot. (I didn’t even know how to turn the engines on!) The last thing we did was ride the Centrifuge. That is a robotic arm that has a capsule attached to it that you sit in and you spin around and experience 3.2 G’s. It was cool but it felt like my face was melting off and it got really hard to breathe. But it was really fun!

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)! Part 3

Read about Caitlin's adventure to the Advanced Space Academy (Space Camp): part one and part two!

 Day 2: August 29, 2011 (part 2)
...I knew I was scuba diving afterwards and I was a bit nervous.

To get to the top of the tank we had to go up 5 flights of stairs! The pool was definitely creepy – it was really blue and on the walls, as wallpaper, were pictures of real astronauts training underwater. The tank is 24 feet deep, 30 feet in diameter, and 92 degrees Fahrenheit. We had to swim across and onto a platform where we learned how to get water out of the regulator, techniques for finding our regulator if it was knocked out of our mouth, how to hook up to an emergency air supply, and how to empty our goggles underwater. We then got to go down the ladder which takes a long time because you have to stop every few steps to unblock your ears and make sure everything is okay. Once down there, I played basketball, catch, and baseball…with a bowling ball! I built a pyramid and shot off a rocket and I also was able to lift a giant 100-pound ball over my head with one hand. It was quiet down there except when the bowling balls hit together or when someone taps on the glass – it now makes sense why you aren’t supposed to tap on the glass at an aquarium because it is very loud. After about 45 minutes down there, we slowly made our way to the surface. So far, the Underwater Astronaut Trainer has been my favorite thing to do even though I was originally terrified by it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp!) Part 2

Read about Caitlin's Day 1 Adventures at the Advanced Space Academy HERE!

Day 2 (part 1) (August 29, 2011)

Today was simply amazing! I got up around 6AM and had breakfast – biscuits, bacon, and French toast (not exactly healthy, but it was good) and then we got to go get our flight suits. The guy who was giving them asked what size we were and I didn’t quite understand the fit of a flight suit, seeing as how I have yet to try one on until today. Eventually he just let us try them all on until we found our size (turns out, I’m a small) and then we took a group photo in them. We then got started on Alpha Mission.

For this mission, I was “Mission Specialist 1” which means that I was on the orbiter and would be doing repairs in the Payload Bay Area. The Payload Bay is part of the orbiter and it is open, allowing for repairs, but it can also be closed and used for storage. The area is exactly the same size as a Greyhound Bus. Once Mission Control gave us the OK for launch, my partner and I began our pre-flight physicals where we had to record our blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. Also, our blue flight suits are worn throughout every mission. Then, I climbed up to the cockpit for takeoff, which was controlled by our two pilots.

At T+5 minutes, my partner and I headed down to the middeck where we suited up to head to Payload Bay. We had to take off the flight suit, put on an ice vest, then the white flight suit, then the boots. After that we put on white cloth gloves and then our outer gloves. The headset was put on and then finally our helmet. Despite the ice vest and the fan in our helmet, it was still extremely hot in that suit. I then had to climb up the ladder and out of the orbiter to the Payload Bay. I was strapped onto a robotic arm that I controlled with a control pad and had to follow Mission Control’s instructions on how to fix the satellite. Basically I had to go up, plug in my
power supply, and follow the instructions of which buttons and switches to press. It took me FOREVER to get the plug in because you have to put it in and twist which was extremely difficult with those huge gloves on. Then I had to remove the antenna and hand it to Mission Specialist 2 who gave me a new one to replace it with. It was fun using the arm to get around but it was tricky. PS – you actually have to say things like ”Roger”, “copy”, “go”, “no-go”, and say when things are “nominal” or “not nominal.”

Then I returned to the orbiter, took my gear off and prepared for re-entry and landing. After that we ate lunch and I had some delicious grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and sherbet. Next there was training for our Bravo mission before we got to work on the rockets we are building. We get to spray paint them so I’m thinking pale pink with black polka dots! We didn’t have much time to work on them because then we had to go to the IMAX Theater to see “Hubble.” It was awesome! The screen was way bigger than I thought it would be so it really felt like you were in space. I loved watching the rocket blastoff and seeing how graceful the astronauts manage to be even when while making repairs. After that we went to a briefing on companies who do private space flights so I made sure to take a ton of notes because I WILL do that someday. Then we ate supper and I had lasagna and garlic bread. I didn’t want to eat too much because I knew I was scuba diving afterwards and I was a bit nervous.

Come back soon to check out Caitlin's scuba diving adventure!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)! Part 1

Before Caitlin left for Space Camp, she decided to keep a very, VERY, detailed journal about everything she did and saw there which is very lucky for the rest of us who didn’t get to go and can live vicariously through her. For this series (An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)!) you will read all of her own words. She has also included everything she ate because we are both obsessed with having good meals and telling each other about them.

Day 1 (August 28, 2011)

First day of Advanced Space Academy at the United StatesSpace and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama! It was a really pretty ride down, the mountains and the trees were nice, and the red dirt was too, but other than that there wasn’t much else unless I was interested in buying fireworks…

I got here around 12:30 today and…got some lunch in the cafeteria, a ham and cheese flatbread melt (the ham tasted like bacon so it was good), and then walked around a bit before orientation and this is one impressive place. It is so much bigger than I expected and I am amazed by the amount of stuff they have here. We got to see the Underwater Astronaut Trainer, which I was afraid of but it wasn’t quite as mechanic as I imagined, so it wasn’t too terrifying. We also got a sneak peek of the Multi-Axis Trainer, the 5 Degrees of Freedom Chair, the 1/6 Gravity Chair, and the Manned Maneuvering Unit. I honestly expected this week to be centered on those things alone but I can already tell that that is not the case.

Then I had an orientation where they showed us all the buildings and the way around. We also got to see where we will be doing our Flight Missions which will take place on a huge shuttle (it’s actually called an orbiter, which I learned today) with a fully functional Mission Control Room with computers, manuals, and headsets. After our tour, we gathered in the cafeteria where we began to design our mission patch. That, I think, will be worn on our flight suits. This was a little difficult because everyone had conflicting ideas and talked over each other but we’ll keep working on the patch later in the week. After that we ate dinner – pizza, carrots, Dr. Pepper, and chocolate cake (these details are for you, Kathryn.) I forgot to mention that we also went to the part of the museum that houses a partially functioning Saturn V rocket (the V represents the number of engines.) It was huge! Apparently it was built from a junkyard used specifically to story old parts of rockets.

At the end of the day we went to two meetings where they briefly discussed how space flight works, the different parts of a rocket, shuttle, and engine and they also went over our missions and the different roles and positions that are required to keep everything running smoothly. There will be more meetings/presentations that will go into greater detail on those subjects later in the week.

Then we went to the IMAX Theater and watched October Sky which was very good. It’s about a boy who no one believes in who wants to be in the space program and is eventually successful. There was also cheese and grapes to go along with the movie, which I loved, obviously! It’s pretty warm in the room I’m in but, other than that, everything is great!

P.S. There are tons of bats flying around outside!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Space Camp

Everyone knows about Space Camp, right?! It was the topic and title of a movie made in the 1980s and was often the grand prize on some great Nickelodeon game shows. It might have been on Double Dare, What Would You Do?, Nick Arcade…all we know is that we fondly remember watching many episodes and being SO JEALOUS that the winner got to go to Space Camp. It seemed so fun! You got to pretend to be an astronaut and wear a blue jumpsuit and sit in simulators and do…well, space-things. We’re not sure that we ever actually saw a contestant on one of these shows win the trip to Space Camp – which made it seem that much more mysterious and awesome. Did it really even exist? It was a lot like the trips to Universal Studios that were often offered but never won. Were these REAL places that REAL people could go to? We definitely had our doubts.

Well, guess who just went to Space Camp? 

Our very own Absurd Adventurer, Caitlin! She spent a week in Huntsville, Alabama at the United States Space and Rocket Center learning what it takes to become an astronaut, going through flight simulators, wearing that fun blue jumpsuit, trying out equipment, scuba diving, and touring rocket museums.

She ACTUALLY WENT TO SPACE CAMP! We have all the stories and pictures from her trip to show you and, since, it really was the adventure of a lifetime, we’ve decided to present her experiences in a series we’re calling AN ABSURD ADVENTURER IN SPACE (CAMP)! Make sure you come back often to read each new story, or better yet, sign up for our mailing list (on the right) to get each entry sent right to your email.

Here are two pictures to show you that this all actually happened and to get you excited for what is to come:

What do YOU want to know about Caitlin's adventure? Leave us a comment with your question!

Welcome new readers!

Well, hello! We've been getting a lot more visitors to our lil' ol' blog from a wonderful comment someone posted over at Smart, Pretty & Awkward and we would just like to say hello to all our new readers! We really hope that you like what you read and come back for more. Please, send us an email or leave a comment on a post - we would love to hear what you have to say!