The Kennedy Space Center – An Unforgettable Experience

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The Kennedy Space Center – An Unforgettable Experience

Isabelle Samudio, Reporter

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Over the summer my family and I had the opportunity to go to Florida. Most teens would be excited for the trips to the beach and pool, or going to amusement parks. It’s almost a shame that I was most excited for the informative parts of the trip. I adore history, archaeology, and science – especially astronomy. So obviously my parents were grudgingly inclined to add in a few history and science museums to our to-do list. If they were adding scientific museums then they just had to go to the crowning jewel of all science exhibits in Florida – the Kennedy Space Center. I felt a dulled excitement as we drove. We had previously visited it and I expected to see the same things. Instead I was dumbfounded; after only a year the center had developed into a Now Hiring ad for the journey to Mars on the Orion spacecraft.

The experience was inspiring – which is definitely what NASA was going for. It wanted to get the audience invested and interested in the newest member of the spacecraft family, Orion, and it absolutely succeeded. The tactics were to make it so it seemed plausible that an everyday person could have a chance to go to Mars. That was the most intriguing aspect. I, obviously, was star-struck at the idea as well: a regular person living and experimenting on Mars. What really got me was seeing the development stages for the Orion. It was abnormally interesting to watch the concept form and develop. And it was shown in a way that anyone could understand (well that’s a given since little children were there). It legitimately felt like NASA’s plans and ideas could work – it gave hard evidence and showed experiments to demonstrate, and I was immediately hooked.

Other aspects of the Space Center shined on that day as well – one of the most memorable being the memorial for those who’ve passed away. It’s a sobering exhibit that truly captures all your attention. You enter a hallway, dimly lit, with windows holding objects lining the walls. Each one is followed by a picture, a name, and a little backstory. At first you’ll probably just spare a glance at the contents, the meaning not registering, and then double back to really examine what’s inside. In each compartment there are objects that the astronaut owned and cherished. It’s quite sad to see; many had little spaceships, almost foreshadowing their future career. Some had bomber jackets they adored, or model airplanes; little trinkets that held meaning to them. It really hits you that these people are gone when you turn a corner and a piece of one of the spacecrafts in sitting there under a spotlight. The edges are blackened with burn marks and the name is almost scorched off the metal. The exhibit definitely sticks with you; it’s simplicity and the mere center of focus really hits you hard.

Yet, other things, happier things, stood out to me as well – the pieces of shiny meteors, a piece of the moon you could touch, old worn spacesuits, etc. And the gift shop: it’s too good. I bought myself a really cute pair of alien socks. Silliness aside, the experience truly affected me, even days (and months) after. On July 11 at 11:59 – the minute before my birthday – I stayed up watching 30 minutes to hour-long documentaries and lectures on astrophysics and black holes. And even now, the ideas and hopes for this expedition still sits at the back of my mind. The accomplishments and passion the Center demonstrated inspired me and everyone who was there; I highly recommend it.

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