Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week of Space

I apologize, this was supposed to go out on 4/16, but it seems to be stuck "publishing" on my phone.

Last week was a good week for me, a lot of space events going on.  Saturday a week ago was Yuri's Night (observed) for the Huntsville area, with a huge party in the Davidson Center.  Yuri's Night officially is celebrated April 12 (4/12, get it?), in honor of the launch of Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, on April 12, 1961.  For anyone concerned about why Americans would want to celebrate that, April 12, 1981 was the date of the first Space Shuttle launch.  So it has become a World Space Party day.

I found out two days before the event that it can include a costume party, and I don't have any space-related costumes.  I keep wanting to do a Kaylee (from Firefly) costume for Halloween, but I haven't found/bought an olive jumpsuit yet.  CraftLass on Twitter kindly reminded me that the point of the party is to have fun, so I didn't worry about it.

On the night of the event, I picked out clothes that reminded me of the off-duty outfits worn on ST:TNG.  Then I remembered I have eyeliner, so I drew spots along the side of my head and neck, a la the Trill aliens.  A few people at the party recognized my spots, I was happy with that.

From 6-8 pm they tried to make it kid-friendly, although actually our son didn't end up using the moonbounce at all.  He did have a lot of fun on the dance floor... especially when he discovered that Mommy could/would dance with him.  (Well... they played "You spin me right round," and I just had to spin him :) )  There wasn't much sitting down after that point.  After my guys left, I danced for another couple of hours, it was fun.  Ran into some people I knew, met another Tweep, it was fun.

Thursday was the actual Yuri's Night, though I mostly observed it on Twitter.  Next year I should try to remember some sort of spacey snack to bring in to work.  NOT astronaut ice cream.  Maybe use my star-shaped cookie cutters for once.

Friday and Saturday was the Great Moonbuggy Race.  AIAA judges the (optional) Design Competition.  This year we added two new awards, for Best Report and Telemetry.   I didn't get a chance to see the reports, so I stayed out of that judging, but I was one of the design judges.

It's always inspiring to see the work these   high school and college students have put into their moonbuggies.  Sometimes, in the workforce, we get bogged down in bureaucracy and forget how exciting the project really is.  Observing a competition like this helps me to dream again, to remember why I wanted to do this.