Meeting an Astronaut

In Space, anything is possible.
Or perhaps,
“Whip me, beat me, take away my charge cards… NASA is talking!”

From SpaceCamp? No? JB had never seen it either, which downgrades his Eighties movie knowledge from Deficient to Abysmally un-American. I could focus an entire series of posts on the movies he’s not seen. Hey…

However, tonight I’m hear to talk about meeting a astronaut. My friends, when I stop to catalog my many blazing failures as a wife and mother? Then I consider last week’s’ Air Force One adventure and tonight’s Meet the Astronaut? In my opinion, any surplus emotional capital now lives in my corner.

I wouldn’t know a Bieber if he sat down next to me, but I am over the moon (pun=totally worth it) about meeting an astronaut. That’s me, Proud Geek. Then I realized that Space Camp has an adult program. It’s ON, people. Who wants to go to camp with me?

Wait- back to the kids, since this is about them, right?

Not only did Zach meet a live one, complete with blue suit and nifty patches, but Bill– we’re likethis– approached Zach rather than waiting for Z to chase him down. I expected an astronaut to be pompous, but William McArthur, a North Carolina native was above and beyond (again, totally worth it).

Zach, to his credit didn’t drool on himself. But other than name and rank, he was basically speechless. My son. Speechless. The child talks in his sleep.

The pictures, Stephanie. Yes, well. As it would turn out, my camera made it, but my SD card did not. Nor had my phone (so I thought). A few minutes after taking this shot, JB took back his phone and wandered off with Elliot.

To look at a Turtle. When less than 5 feet away, stood an astronaut that has BEEN IN SPACE. Sigh– can you just visualize the gnashing of teeth and wailing (mine) that could have been?

But then during the presentation Bill called on Zach by name. Who needs a picture of their very first meeting when you have this one?

Zach’s face stayed like this for most of the talk. Without words coming out of it.

Except during the questions.

When McArthur asked what types of supplies might be delivered to the Space Station, I muttered Tang. Which Zach overheard and answered.

Cue audience laughter. Next step– show Zach a container of Tang.

At the end, before the Colonel could finish “any questions” Zach’s hands flew into the air.

You never know what’s going to come out of a 5 year old’s mouth, so both JB and I tried to get him to ask us first.

Nope.

“Is the robot still on Mars” was his question. Not, “what’s it like to pee in space”. Though that’s also a valid (IMO) question.

Yes, is the answer, by the way. With a new one going up August 6th.

Then, after the Colonel reminded the audience that China also wants to explore space, but–unlike everyone else–doesn’t want to share knowledge, Zach had another question: “well, what happens if they get there first?” Very much concerned that if China calls “shotgun” on space that we’ll never ride front seat again.

Actually…

By the time we left–with assorted schwag, autographs and foam astronauts– two very tired kids were mostly slurring nonsense from the backseat.

When suddenly Zach mumbles that he needs an engineering degree– and can he “get one those from NC State”?

Yeah, kiddo. NC State has a few engineering programs.

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