Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ESE on the Road, 4


That buzzing got especially ugly today.

Might be fatigue, chemistry, the fact I haven't eaten for a few days or all of the above but the black, ugly, shit-stinking beast opened its jaws particularly wide today.  Only one solution.

Intense geekery of the ESE variety.

You can't very well expect me to go to Washington DC and not visit something called the National Air and Space Museum.  That's like going to Farm Aid but bailing out before Willie Nelson comes on. 

I have no idea where that analogy came from but strap yourselves in.  You once more will feel like you're in a dimly lit living room as a slide projector hums, each click inundating you with yet another vacation pic.  And there are no plastic covers on these seats...

You go through security at each museum.  Empty your pockets, walk through the metal detector.  I understand why it's done but it's a tedious experience.  This time, it was more than worth it.

First thing I saw was the actual SpaceShip One, developed by Bert Ruttan and other people with vision.  They opened a whole new era of private spaceflight. 



I turn to my right and what do I find?  Scary monsters from my childhood.  That's a Soviet SS-20 ICBM on the left.  Thought one of those was going to fall on my at any time during the 80s.  A medium range Pershing is on the right.  Ghastly things.



The Minuteman is no picnic, neither.



Speaking of monsters, there's this:



Yeah I know it's a Nazi plane, but I've always considered the Me-262 a marvel of engineering.  One of the first real fighter jets.  Have I mentioned how lucky we were that Hitler was crazy and didn't let his generals and scientists run the war?

There's a new UAV display at the museum now.  I forget this one's name.  Doubtless it has been responsible for several UFO reports.



A Predator drone.  Note the Hellfire missile on the wing.  Would love to watch it blow something up.



This is Darkstar.  I know it has been mistaken for a UFO and by looking at it I think you can see why.  A few researchers even caught a glimpse of it flying into Area 51.



An RAF Spitfire.  Magnificent aircraft.  "Never have so many owed so much to so few."



P-51 Lightning.  "Cadillac of the skies."



Tora tora tora



A bat man?



A plaque that commemorates the social changes that Star Trek represented.  They also have the original model of the Enterprise.  My pic of it didn't turn out.  Yes, I'm fucking mad as hell.



Continuing my appreciation for the Nazi war machine (but not really), we have the V2. Say what you want but our space program would not be possible without it.  Sure, Werner Von Braun used concentration camp slave labor to build his rockets, but we didn't mind.  Why have any foofaraw about it?  That Von Braun is gonna take us places.  Right, Walt Disney?  :\



The Tomahawk missile.  Many in Afghanistan and elsewhere have become acquainted with it.



Astronaut trainer.  Same kind Steve Austin crashed in The Six Million Dollar Man.  "We can rebuild him..."



Replica of the Moon landing.  Amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it.



Beautiful views of Mars.






Pathfinder's own tire tracks.




One of the rovers.  Can't remember which.



Science fiction visions of space travel.  The first was actually a proposed rocketship design.




Space shuttle diorama.



The International Space Station.


Proposed Moon buggy.



Couldn't they have posed the astronauts any other way?



Space exploration robot proposed by NASA. Bears more than a passing resemblance to the Fett man.



Beautiful shot of Discovery in orbit.




"I work for NASA.  Our future is shiny.  What could go wrong?"



I had never seen this view of the shuttle main fuel tank jettisoning before today.



An old Ford Tri Motor which you may remember from Indiana Jones and the Trmple of Doom.



V'Ger!



A replica of the record of Earth sounds and greetings on the side of Voyager. My apologies for the ugly guy in the Spider-Man t-shirt that got in the shot.



Your solar system to scale.



Heh heh!  Heh heh!



The X-15. One of the first supersonics.  You can see forerunners of the Blackbird's design and contours,



Saturn V diorama.



Buzz Aldrin's bio quarantine suit.



A modern era space suit.



A better look at the V2.



The actual Apollo 11 command module!



Pretending I'm on Mars.



The Viking lander.




And that is that.

I'm very glad I went to this museum.  It wasn't always easy being a geek.  My formative years were spent being berated and outright bullied for my interests in space, science fiction, and having the audacity and temerity to want to learn about the universe...for feeling that very little within the noosphere could fascinate me as much as the unknown depths of space.

The museum, if I may be selfish for a moment, is of course a testament and tribute to the wonderful men and women of aviation and space and all of their triumphs.  But I have a more personal spin on it.

It means I'm not alone.  Others must value all of these same said things or the building wouldn't even have broken ground.  So I will continue loving what I love.

Anyone who doesn't like can take a Saturn V in their ass.





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