Monday, July 13, 2009

Get to Know the Space Geek Side of me

If you are following me on Twitter, you know that the only thing I tweet about as much as crafting is .... Space. That's right, I'm a complete and total Space Geek.

My fascination with Space and Space travel started when I was about 11 years old. I'd always been interested in Outer Space and astronauts, but it was specifically the Challenger tragedy that spurred me into declaring I wanted to be an astronaut myself. I still remember sitting in my 5th grade class and seeing the teacher from the next classroom over come in and start whispering grimly to our teacher. I heard things like "shuttle" and "explosion" and had an immediate lump in my stomach. As I continued to follow the story and learn more about the astronauts on the Challenger's crew, I developed a deep appreciation for the brave pioneers who were willing to risk their lives in the name of science.

That's me in the middle (with some totally bitchen pink frosted lipstick) and my friends who went to Space Camp as well.

A year later, I went to Space Camp. (I have to thank my parents profusely here for being willing and able to send me) It was an amazing experience, that differed just a smidge from the classic 1986 movie - which I have almost memorized and adore. I learned loads, made great friends and ate french fries shaped like Space Shuttles. I bounced around in a 1/6 chair and got to feel what it would be like to walk on the moon. It was amazing.

That's me as mission commander in our end-of-week mission simulation. Two words: Insanely Fun.

My love for Space has continued my entire life, and has recently been infiltrating my tweets, especially during the last Shuttle mission back in May. I was able to sit in my office and work while I streamed live video of the astronauts' space walks and their repairs of the Hubble telescope.

Surely I'm not the only one amazed by this, right?

I mean ... HELLO! Live video streaming from hundreds of miles above us - astronauts chatting (and so politely!) - dear ole Hubble ... this is amazing stuff, folks!

I was watching the shuttle launch (actually, scrubbed due to weather issues, crossing fingers for tonight) last night, and couldn't believe that no one else in my family wanted to watch with me. I gasped as the astronauts disembarked the orbiter (some even giving a wave and a thumbs up to the little camera positioned in the white room just outside the orbiter's hatch) and said, "Look! It's the astronauts! They're getting off the orbiter! Check out their suits! Their helmets! Look at the guys helping them!" Apparently, it wasn't enough to pull the kids from watching iCarly.

My husband looked at me and said, "You are such a dork."

Commander Polansky gets strapped in to the Orbiter today. Amazing!

Now, I know he wasn't being mean and I've never been one to hide my nerd badge, but come on! We are blasting humans in to space. They are hooking up with the International Space Station. There will be Space walks ... in SPACE. All of it real and there for us to watch and admire. Teams of people, working hard, using their insanely smart brains and making all these amazing things happen ... up in SPACE!

How is this dorky? How is this not the most awesome thing we can experience? Why isn't everyone excited and interested and fired up about it?

I have a theory: we've (mostly) lost touch with the 11-year-old inside of us.

This was my set up in my office on my side desk to watch the spacewalks with Hubble back in May.

Nothing brings me back to that excited, full of wonder and awe self like Space. When I watched astronaut Mike Massimino take the coolest space tools ever to Hubble, I was instantly transported back to 1986. I was giddy and excited and interested and in complete awe. Being able to follow Massimino on Twitter (and the numerous other NASA twitter feeds) allowed me to feel like I was along for the ride and left me feeling completey inspired.

So here's where my love of Space and my love of crafting coincide: Inspiration, wonder, awe, excitement, and tapping back in to that carefree feeling I had when I was a kid. They actually both evoke very similar emotions for me.

This is me talking to a woman from NASA at Maker Faire. She's just told me some very exciting news about NASA (that I'll share when I get the green light) and I'm hitting the table saying (I'm not kidding) "SHUT UP! That is SO COOL!" I guess I am a dork ....

Aren't we all looking for inspiration? Don't we all want something that leaves us breathless and happy and excited to see what the future will be? Am I a dork for thinking that things like Space travel and crafting can bring that feeling to others? I'm ok with that.

Give yourself some time tonight to watch the launch. Follow NASA on Twitter, follow the astronauts on Twitter. If you have kids, get them to watch, too. Maybe you can make something while you watch. Open yourself up to the possibility of being completely inspired.

Or ... just go ahead thinking I'm a dork

Some resources:
10 Ways to get involved with NASA
Space Flight Now - up-to-date information on launch and video
SpaceVidCast - another place to watch - it's in HD and has a couple who do commentary during the launch prep. There's also a chat room. You might see me in there under avgjanecrafter
NASA TV - you can watch online, but there's a bit of a delay behind the first two sites listed here. If you have staellite tv, you can catch it there.
NASA on Twitter
Astronaut Mike Massimino on Twitter
Astronaut and Commander of the current mission, Mike Pollansky


  1. I love that you love space! It was a love of mine when I was a kid, too. And you know how I'm insanely jealous that you actually got to go to Space Camp! Thanks for sharing a different side of you, Rach!

  2. I love your space Twittering :) Every time I watch a shuttle launch, I am just floored by how amazing it is. My husband recently shared a video on Google Reader about how they light the rocket fuel, and he joked about how he loved that it's the same way you'd light a Bunsen burner. So you're definitely not the only dork out there :)

    I'll be in my jewelry class tonight, but I hope the launch goes well!

  3. almost forgot! the may shuttle landed mere hours from my apartment, and it was AMAZING! shook the whole building and was SO LOUD!

    makes me hope that the weather causes this one to land on the west coast also :)

  4. OMG, I am SO jealous! And being a space geek fits you perfectly, I must say.

  5. My Masters was in Astrophysics. Can I be in your club? I built a radio telescope and everything. It had a remote control, so I could point it at people when they walked in the lab and say "so! Mr Bond! You think you can escape!"

    I have beads of envious sweat on my brow from learning that you got to go to space camp, which was a dream kids in the UK did not even dare to entertain when I was young.

    As Eddie Izzard put it. You put a man in a space ship on the moon. We put a man in a tracksuit up a ladder.

    You gotta get the kids young! Now, when someone comes to our door, my three year old says to them "come and see the gas giants!" and shows them the solar system mural we made on the wall.

  6. I am thrilled to know there actually are others out there in the world who care about space! My "affair" began in 7th grade when I "discovered the planets and then the galaxies. I was completely smitten. I couldn't figure out why everyone else in class wasn't blown away - they just saw it all as boring old science class.

    And, Rachel, I will never, ever forget watching that first moon walk.

    Totally LOVE the photos of you at Space Camp. You looked just like pictures I have seen of Shirley Temple dolls! Adorable!

  7. You are my very favorite dork of all time. I always love your space tweets, and may I say, these pics of you at Space Camp are freaking adorable.

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  9. I'm not a space geek but I live with one & someday would like to surprise him by attending a shuttle launch. even though I know I will cry because I always do when I see them on tv...I also cry at parades. I've got issues. anyhow, it was so much fun to read your post & I love the space camp photos of you - cutie!

  10. Fantastic! I love your space addiction, much healthier than alternatives. And the pictures of you are the sweetest thing ever - pink frosted lipstick, you were just as groovin then as you are now!

  11. I *heart* space! I'm just now reading this (thanks to your tweet about it), and that scrubbed mission? It was one of my client's missions! I had a bride this year that works in Mission Control!!! (I think it is the 2nd coolest job ever besides my own.)

    Hope you enjoy the launch tonight!

  12. You got to go to Space Camp???? I am so TOTALLY JEALOUS BECAUSE i DIDN'T GET TO GO! ;)

    Sweet. Thanks for sharing your adventure. :)

  13. ahh, now I understand the root of your E.T. obsession! I think outer space is awesome & so are you!


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