Hello Space Fans!
I was Tabitha Ricks' second chair up in the Crow's Nest at the Space Center's Planetarium on Saturday. What a view of the universe you get from up there! Being in the trainee's chair meant that I looked but did not touch. No messing around in experimentation mode with the paying public. Tabitha excelled at the helm, skillfully guiding our audience from Utah Valley to Betelgeuse and the Pleiades and home again with stops at the sun,Jupiter,Saturn,Mars and various points in between. There were a few glitches which only Tabitha and I knew about. She was too good at hiding such things from the audience.
CMSC Planetarium presenters are called Navigators. All planetarium shows start with the Navigator's personal greeting from the floor. Above the Navigator are images showing the do's and don'ts everyone is expected to follow during the adventure. "Motion sickness bags are located to the side of every chair," Tabitha said before explaining how to properly fit the floatation devices kept under the chairs should we suffer an inflight emergency and need to land in one of Titan's methane seas (I'm kidding about the bags and the devices, but I think I'll add such things to my welcome just to add a bit of Mr. Williamson to the show :)
The lights were dimmed and the show began.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2009
The Space Center really has two personalities: 1) The ship flight directors/support crews and the educational staff. While the flight directors and their staffs are busily engaged torturing children in the simulators, there is another group of hard-working folks busily working to keep the "second field trip" group engaged with activities in the Star Lab and Discovery classroom. The educational staff members include Lorraine Houston, (myself) Sheila Powell, Aleta Clegg, and Megan Warner. Out-of-site and out-of-mind during the morning field trips simulations, these ladies handle wound-up, excited (occasionally rude and unruly-yikes!) classes of field trip classes in the Star Lab, Classroom, lunchroom and preparing the students for their flights.
These "classroom warriors" loosely call themselves the "Redcoats", because there are days (unbeknownst to one another), when they all wear red jackets or sweaters all on the same day. Their jobs in the Star lab (a student called it the "Star Igloo" the other day..hahahhhaha), classroom and moving the kids through the school is tough…just like in the simulators. As the Flight directors struggle with incohesive groups during a mission…the education members struggle as well.
Needless to say, then while the flight directors and crews are directing student field trip groups in the morning…so are the "Red-coats" directing students through "the other aspect"…the educational side…through CMSEC at the same time. We are all working together to provide a one-of-a-kind, unique experience for kids….and loving every minute of the experience. No matter what kind of classes come our way!! Both "sides" of CMSEC staff handle the daily challenges the individual school/classes present to us! Separate, maybe at times, but all of us are working together as an amazing group that thrills, inspired and amazes children daily!!!!
Mr. Williamson's Imaginarium Theater
The best videos from around the world edited for a gentler audience.