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NASA | Ames Research Center | Visitor Center–Location of The First Mercury Capsule!

July 27, 2015

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This is the closest NASA center I have to me and I finally made it there last weekend! Ames has been conducting world class research since 1939 and is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. For a list of their current missions click here. The Visitor Center is located on the right just as you enter the center. The parking is free and so is the admission, which makes it a great place for children’s field trips! Also, If you have Handicapped people or Senior Citizens, the parking is very close to the center with easy access to the entrance.

Nasa ames research center

The staff were very friendly and helpful right upon entry. They were very happy to answer all of my questions about the items in the center!

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I liked this mini set up they had of the International Space Station (the closest I will ever get to the ISS).

international space station

It had astronaut exercise equipment, astronaut food and other examples of research cubicles.

international space station

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It was really cool to be up-close to the actual experimental equipment used in the 60’s (my favorite NASA era).lunar sample glove box

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There’s a cute photo-op (see on the right of the picture below) where you can get your “astronaut” pictures taken.

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Now here it is! This is what made the trip all the worthwhile to me! The first un-manned Mercury Mission capsule! What an amazing piece of history!! This was actually on display at the Smithsonian and recently shipped to Ames.

nasa first Mercury capsule

nasa first mercury mission capsule

It would have been amazing to see one of the manned mission capsules but I can’t complain! This made me very happy!

nasa first mercury mission capsule

So here’s the deal with the “space suits.” These were never used in space, never used at all for that matter because they are only replica’s–from an educational standpoint these would be great to see. Mercury is on the left and Gemini on the right. Kinda crazy to think of a man launching into space in these suits compared to what they have now!

nasa mercury and gemini suit replicas

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(Please excuse the reflection of my feet..haha)

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There was a nice set up of one of AMES current mission–Kepler. The closet thing to an “Earth twin” that’s been discovered.

Kepler mission at nasa ames research center

And here we are, the second thing at Ames that made me very happy! An actual Moon Rock retrieved from Apollo 15! This rock had it’s own room and  to be honest is really much smaller than these photos show. It was only about 2 inches tall but still just amazingly thrilling to see in person!

nasa ames research center moon rock

apollo 15 moon rock

apollo 15 moon rock

apollo 15 moon rock

The Shuttle cabin simulator was down while we were there unfortunately.

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Here’s a couple of photo’s from the gift shop. I could have bought everything! They had posters, pins, mugs, backpacks, T-shirts and so much more. A lot of these items would make great stocking stuffers. I bought the mug as I’m a coffee addict!

Nasa Ames Research Center

They had the cutest baby section! I don’t have any kids but the selection was making me wish I did! So cute!nasa ames research center

nasa ames research center gift shop

 

My Quick Take: This is a great family friendly environment. You can’t beat the free admission, easy parking and friendly Staff!  Seeing the Mercury Mission Capsule was an unexpected but amazing surprise!

The website says to plan to be there for about an hour but I was there for 2 and half hours.

For Directions click here.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Saturday – Sunday noon – 4 p.m. They closed Mondays and federal holidays.

Phone Numbers: Visitor Center: (650) 604-6497  Gift Shop: (650) 604-5412

Don’t get your hopes up to see the Vertical Motion Simulator or the Wind Tunnels as they are only available to the public during “open houses”. They had their first one in 17 years last fall.

Let me know in the comments if you know when the next Open House is going to be! –And if you haven’t seen  my post on ABC’s Astronaut Wives Club yet click here–Hollywood got this one so wrong.

Happy Exploring!

Xx,

Goldie+James

Goldie James

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog--if you enjoyed it please comment and subscribe for my latest post!

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