Thursday, 1 March 2012

Houston, we have a problem

When it comes to the sensation of open spaces, I'm happy to draw the limit at those within which I can move about freely, with my feet firmly on the ground. As a boy, I never seriously hankered after a ride in a spaceship, neither did I want a relationship with the stars, beyond gazing upwards from - you've guessed it - the spot of turf that gravity kept me in touch with. So, our day out was an exercise in limits of endurance. As part of an educational trip to a science park, we had admission to the planetarium. Nothing to fear, I thought. No chance of snagging my oxygen line, or being bombarded by streams of high-energy photons. No chance of my bodily fluids reaching boiling point, due to a massive drop in pressure.

Where I like to have my feet planted.

Inside the planetarium we took our semi-reclined seats and watched the ceiling change through all the colours of the rainbow, before a young woman briefed us on procedures. One of which was how to counteract the floating feeling we were likely to experience during 'immersive theatre'. Oh dear, I'm thinking, with all the reasonable anxiety of a person who has not long been through his own personal 'immersive theatre', otherwise known as labyrinthitis. The young woman advised us that we would return to earth safely if we closed our eyes, or looked down at our feet.

Then the lights when out, and then suddenly we're treated to a 360 degree view of an astronaut's internal workings, as he/she is launched into orbit. Nice. Next, was an explanation of how astronauts cope with zero gravity, in an aircraft know as the 'vomit comet'. Mmmm.

Does thermal imaging make me look big in this?

Sad to say, our journey to the stars ended rather abruptly, after we had all turned into green beings, and SW had assumed her own launching position, buried into her mum's bosom.

A view of my world, after 'immersive theatre'.

I feel we reached a certain level of astronautical competency in successfully exiting an unstable environment, in a state of disorientation. We eventually touched down in the vicinity of the tea-shop, no worse for wear.

11 comments:

  1. Blimey. I went to Brockenhurst.

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    1. Brockenhurst? I only go there, these days, to get my car serviced. It hasn't got hyper-drive.

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  2. And you paid to get in?!!!

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  3. You should have gone directly to the tera shop and given the vomit comet experience a miss. One day you'll learn. Perhaps when you grow up?

    Is that a picture of Rog above? Or is it Ian McShane?

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    1. Oh dear, Lynne, is there any room left for yet another grown up?

      I like to think of him as Rog McShane.

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  4. that sounds a bit extreme! My only experience of a planetarium was a relatively sedate journey through the stars

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    1. That's the thing, Juliet, we were expecting a relatively sedate journey through the stars. What we got was closer to Star Wars.

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  5. I went to see a movie at the Washington Air and Space Museum and learned the heard way that IMAX is not for me. Good thing I never wanted to become an astronaut. ;-)

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    1. I guess just depends on the way a person is made. We weren't the only people to leave early, by a long way.

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  6. Well thank you Martin - you did it, so we don’t have to!

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