Thursday, July 12, 2007

NASA Aerospace Institute - Day 8: The last three days of the institute were the most exciting, with each day getting more and more interesting. On this day we visited the Florida Solar Energy Center and the planetarium. We explored and observed current research regarding solar thermal panels (for heating water), photovoltaics (creating electricity through solar energy) and fuel cells (which utilize liquid hydrogen and oxygen). The evening's event was a "Dinner With an Astronaut" and we all had a FANTASTIC time meeting and learning from astronaut Sam Gemar, who has flown three space shuttle missions. He defined success as being attained through four main avenues: education, hard work, staying out of trouble (which closes doors quickly) and application (following through on the application process necessary for the goal). He discussed many interesting aspects regarding past, present and future endeavours with NASA, and I look forward to sharing these with ya'll when we next meet!

Today's factoid(s): Did you know that...a space suit weighs 280 pounds? That an astronaut needs to undertake 500 hours of underwater training before attempting a space walk? That there are 520 switches in the space shuttle orbiter? Or that the space shuttle ascends 26,000 feet/second? That's 10 times faster than a speeding bullet and 5 miles for every heartbeat!

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