19 November 2007

Houston, we have a partner

In the life of a scientist, there are a precious few moments that make all the long hard hours at the bench/microscope worthwhile, like getting the reprints of your first peer-reviewed publication or experiencing the thrill of a new discovery. And then, there's this:

Look, Mom! Hands!
Inside the Space Shuttle cockpit mock-up in Houston.
photo: Mike Barratt

Last week NASA astronaut Mike Barratt gave me a personal guided tour of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I got to go inside Mission Control, see the eye-popping Neutral Buoyancy Lab, look at lunar samples (them's moon rocks) and, best of all, experience a Space Shuttle launch simulation from "T minus two" in the motion-based shuttle cockpit simulator.

But what, you might be wondering, does NASA have to do with The Beagle Project? A good place to start is with a review of the core commitments that we share:
  • to the value of human exploration
  • to the search for new life
  • to science education and outreach
  • to understanding Earth's past, present and future
Yes ma'am, NASA and The Beagle Project are peas in the proverbial (and real!) pod. As such, we are currently exploring the development of an International Space Act Agreement to enable a multi-focus collaboration including science, education and outreach. Now, I don't normally use fan-girl lingo, but I am pretty sure that "squeeeee!" is the appropriate exclamation in this situation.

I'm afraid that's all I can say for now, folks, but watch this space (pun intended).


Richard Carter, FCD said...

I am consumed with jealousy yet again. Congrats.

Karen's MOM said...

Mommy's proud!