NASA Center: Moon rocks, rockets and astronauts — Houston, TX
I’ve arrived to Houston, Texas after an especially arduous and dreadful part of my trip in the US. I’ve almost been robbed in Little Rock, Arkansas, then had to sit on a tight Greyhound bus to Dallas which itself was nice, kinda weird at places but nice.
At this point, I was still a little tense from me having to pay protection money back in Little Rock, so I was looking forward to meet a friend in Houston. He was supposed to pick me up at the bus station around 3AM-ish, but he did not show, so I’ve spent the night at the bus station on the floor, with some genuinely nice people, we watched each others stuff while we slept and kept each other company.
So my acquaintance called me to apologize and to reassure me that I don’t need to rent a hostel or a room for the night, because I can totally crash at his place (as we agreed weeks ago).
Well I actually believed him.
In any case, he wasn’t free for the day, so I decided to look up what to do.
After a quick google search, I’ve realized:
“Houston, we have a problem!”
The NASA Center is here! I’ve got really excited. I looked up the directions and got on a semi-long distance bus, that went from the bus station to the center. It was a nice 1 hour ride and I could sleep a little bit after being up for 2 days with barely any sleep.
The center looks amazing, next to the entrance you can see a huge space shuttle and lots of rockets from different eras of the space race. You can get different tours at the entrance, I chose the basic one, because I didn’t want to rush through all the attractions just because there was something else starting.
If you enter it’s like a wonderland for someone who loves history and space travel. There were pods from the Mercury and Apollo mission as well as a myriad of other strange spacecrafts hanging from the ceiling, or just in the corners. The entrance hall is filled with these relics from one of the most exciting times of the recent history.
You can also see some of the new advancements NASA is making, for example the living quarters and the pods for the theoretical Mars expedition.
If you wander around in the hall, there are different sections. When I was there there was one about spacewalks and space suits, one about rovers, 2 different theatrical experiences and a main exhibition about the space program.
In the main exhibition you can see all the steps of the program and see what NASA develops for the future. There is an actual moon rock from one of the Apollo missions and you can touch it. It is one of the few ones you can touch!
Besides the exhibition, you can go on a tour of the larger facility outside the visitors center. The carry you around with one of those novelty truck trains and they show you the actual new research facilities (from a distance, obviously) and take you to the old command center, which is the one from where they’ve coordinated the moon landing and all the famous missions.
It is restored to its peak condition from the Apollo missions era. It was a great experience to see this legendary room, featured in so many films.
On this tour I started chatting with a nice grandpa who took his grandson to the NASA Center. He told me about how he saw the moon landing on television when he was younger. They were quite nice and friendly people.
The highlight for my tour was probably the Saturn V rocket. This is THE ROCKET! When you think of a rocket, odds are you picture this one. It’s a monstrous super sized rocket, housed in its very own hangar. It used to stand tall in front of the Center, but the weather and the degradation made it too dangerous, so they created this hangar for it.
Overall, I’ve spent a great day at the NASA Center and it was one if not the highlight of the first leg of my tour of the United States. If you’re in Texas or just in the area definitely pay a visit, it is gonna be a memorable day!