NASA Ames, day 1

August 17, 2006

As advertised I am taking part in the Next Generation Space Exploration conference at NASA Ames research center, Moffett Field CA. I was a little disapointed that Captain Picard did not show up. (ha,ha,ha)

Anyway, the fist day was spend getting oriented to my surroundings and being prohibitted from walking freely about the “base” in search of the cafeteria. Turns out the cafeteria is in the secure government portion of the compound, so in a fit of desperate hunger (after spending the whole previous day starving on airplanes as I was not allowed to bring my snacks on the aircraft as appently a terrorist cell has found a way to detonate cream cheese and fudge cookies, and airport security just wants to be sure well, I should watch what I type as:



Ames Guest Network

WARNING! This is a US Government computer. This system is for the use of authorized users only. By accessing and using the computer system you are consenting to system monitoring, including the monitoring of keystrokes. Unauthorized use of, or access to, this computer system may subject you to disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.)

I ate this:


So, with bloated stomach and clogged arteries it was off to the tour of the facilities.

How excited I was that were were going to be transported on the tour by a NASA Shuttle. So this is what shuttles do while they are grounded.


All kidding aside (for now) that bus is parked in front of the world’s largest wind tunnel (well unless you are speaking to a Russian space official). Largest or not I must say that it quite inpressive to be standing in a building that wind tested full scale models of space craft. This photo doesn’t quite do it justice.


Next on the tour was a facility of personal interest to me, the human centrifuge. The unit at Ames has the capability of imparting a continual force of 20G with the subject in any posture, thus able simulate many aspects of the launch, flight, and reentry stages. Also, the investigators use much the same equipment to monitor the cardiovascular responses to gravitational perturbations that I use in the lab at UW.


Then it was off see the worlds fastest operational supercomputer, the Columbia. I won’t pretend to know anything about its implications but it fills a room the size of 4 basketball courts. Each one of those cabinets holds 512 cpus. The thing is all linked up and images are sent to a high-res display array.




I will get to day two and the actual conference material tomorrow as I have to sign off due to NASA calling for an internet curfew of 12am. I don’t get it either. Till tomorrow.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: