Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pictures of the New Odyssey - A Construction Update. The Sixth Graders Go to Clark Planetarium. Space and Science News. What if Someone Turns the Universe Off. The Imaginarium.

Hello Troops,
     Last Tuesday the sixth graders from Renaissance went on a field trip to Clark Planetarium.  This week we're going to write about our trip and have a bit of fun at the same time.  I'll get the ball rolling with this story starter. My students take it from here.....
     Tuesday was the highlight of London Room's week at Renaissance Academy. The institution's warden felt the sixth level deserved special recognition for good behavior, not to mention a month without injuries, and authorized an outing to Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City.
     "They're going to let us out for a field trip?" one of my incorrigibles asked from his seat. 
     "Yes, they're going to let us out," I answered.  He tried to stand and cheer with the rest of the class, but only cleared four inches before his chair pulled him back.  He and his government issued 18 inch student chair were joined together by duct tape.  Student 1362 had forgotten that no one escapes from the dreaded and highly feared London Room.  Only the brave or stupid have tried, and we morn them on the anniversaries of their attempts. These memorials remind our sixth level students to work hard, follow the rules, and learn their lessons. We want their memories of bright blue skies, tall trees and wide open spaces to motivate them to serve their nine months honorably and live for the day when we discharge them into polite society.

     The students squinted in the bright sun as we exited the main building to board the waiting bus.  The morning's cool scent misted the air.
    "I almost forgot what fresh air smells like," student 1127 said as she stopped the line five paces from the electronically monitored glass doors to take in long deep breaths through her pudgy nose.
     There was shout from the back. "Who's stopping the line?  Get a move on or its two days in the cooler!" Matron Holmes snarled, the self proclaimed meanest matron in the institution. 
     The disruption in the line caused a bit of confusion. One of my runners saw his chance and bolted for the Alpine Highway and the freedom getting across it would bring.  He made it as far as the institute's fence before he was stopped dead in his tracks.  There was a popping noise.  We all turned toward the fence. Student 2113 was encircled in a cocoon of sparking blue light.  It took a moment before the breakers tripped and the fence released him. He spun around, staggered, nearly collapsed, righted himself and zigzagged back toward the line with smoke rising up from his collar.   
     "2113, what have we told you over and over again?" I asked as he took his place back in the line.  I wanted to laugh but couldn't.  Escape attempts had to be taken seriously.
     "No one escapes," his tongue sparked against his braces as he spoke, discharging the remaining electricity left circling in his small 11 year old bony frame......

Now, let's see where my sixth graders take this story...Perhaps I'll share what they write.

Mr. W.

New Pictures from the Odyssey II Currently Under Construction at the CMSEC

Construction on the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center's Odyssey II is on schedule for a beginning of October opening date.  Megan Warner, Director of the CMSEC, sent the following photos to update The Troubadour's readers. 

The captain's platform was modified and is in place.  We're looking toward the back of the ship.  The engineering station is to the left.

Standing at the back of the Odyssey and looking right toward the engineering section.

A panaromic shot of the simulator from the back, left corner. 

A wide angle shot of the Odyssey's interior taken from the main doorway

An alien is sighted in the Odyssey's doorway.  Looking from the front toward the back

Looking toward the front of the ship.  It looks like the Odyssey will have two large main viewers!

I'll keep you posted on developments.
Mr. W.

Space and Science News

If the Moon were replaced with some of our planets.  Daytime

If the Moon were replaced with some of our planets.  Night time

From Quasars to Quarks
The Big What? New Model Eliminates Need for Big Bang
A new and daring cosmological model of the universe from a university in Taiwan describes the universe without a big bang – an eternal universe with NO beginning and NO end. This new and insane model for the universe is actually crazier than it sounds, so bear with me here while we delve into details.  Read More
From Mr. Daymont's Spacerubble Blog;  When Things go Wrong in Space

Illustration of Cygnus near ISS.

Space Exploration is a risky business. Just talk to Orbital Sciences! It was just last Tuesday, Sep. 18, when the Antares rocket blasted off from the Virginia Wallops Island launch facility on the Atlantic coast, lifting the new Cygnus cargo pod into space. Only the second company to launch a private-industry spacecraft to the station, Orbital Sciences hoped to make docking with the space station after several days of flight testing navigational and maneuvering systems before making a final approach. 
Antares rocket lifts into a perfect sky.

The Antares rocket flew beautifully, placing the capsule into its planned orbit after a great show on NASA TV. Viewers were able to watch the company's mission control screen graphics show the departing stages and protective fairing, followed by the last stage placing the cargo ship on its correct trajectory.
Mission Control operations screen. Antares second stage firing maneuvering thrusters.

Once in orbit, tests began on the various spacecraft systems to ensure a safe approach and docking with the station. It was on its last step of maneuvering for docking this morning when the engineers noted a flaw in the GPS programming. The GPS system ensures a fully-controlled robotic ground-controlled docking without significant risk to bumping the station, such as happened to the Russian MIR station last century when a Progress capsule smacked into a station module.
Wallops Island mission control. I need to find out if this is the launch control or Orbital Sciences' mission control.

Just recently the word came down, a delay of 48 hours while engineers work to correct the glitch before they try another docking attempt. OS is pretty confident the software problem will be repaired and the next attempt will occur on Tuesday. Our hopes go with the Cygnus team. NASA Spaceflight has a great article on the procedures used to approach and dock with the sttation here:
Meanwhile, WAY OUT in space, it appears that the Deep Impact space probe is beyond repair from the ground, and NASA has declared the mission ended. It was a valuable mission exploring comets and asteroids and managed to go beyond its planned mission parameters. Truly a successful space mission.
Tempel 1 moments after being hit by a probe from Deep Impact spacecraft.

The Imaginarium
Let's make this an extraordinary day

Then and Now

If only I had a red shell

A matter of perspective

Cats have always been a problem, even in the 15th century

Why aren't we making these?!

A South Korean hotel designed to look like a cruise ship

You've got to admire its spirit

A steam punk coffee shop in South Africa

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