Does travel enrich your life?

Does travel enrich your life? You bet!

On Monday I had a wonderful opportunity to join a dozen #HPEadministrators and partners on a tour of the NASA space center. These are brilliant and dedicated people who have gathered from all over the world to determine the future of not only the high-tech industry of Hewlett Packard but also the future of the space industry. Who knew HP was so involved in the upcoming Artemis program? HP leader Norm even found a display of an HP hand-held calculator used by NASA. A Proud moment!

To be perfectly honest, in the past I have avoided NASA entirely, not having any interest in fighting the immense crowds of students and visitors that usually clog the halls of that august institution. This time, however, the tour was private, with our own delightful and very articulate young tour guide, Sasha and even our train over to the Mission Control and the Saturn V building.

Sasha (or Saja) led us through the museum part of the facility, leaving us awestruck at the incredibly tiny capsule that John Glenn rode in. It gives you claustrophobia just to look at it. Mockups and examples of the many other capsules and the space station hang suspended above us in a darkened, star-spangled night sky.  A diorama of the first step on the moon impressed us all, but we learned that the starry background had to be removed since the astronauts said the stars were not visible, only the blue orb of earth.  Amazing advances through the years in the face of opposition and even some hostility.  

Despite disasters and problems, cutbacks and cancellations, the agency has at last returned to prominence with the immense Saturn V rocket and the upcoming Artemis moon landing. There wasn’t one of us, world-wise and weary, who didn’t have a jaw-dropping “WOW” as we walked into the huge Saturn V building. It wasn’t so much coming face-to-face with the rocket, as it was feeling ant-like as we stared up at the giant jets, overwhelmed at the immensity of the rocket that towered above us and stretched off more than a quarter of a mile into the distance. No John Glenn claustrophobia here!

Did the experience change us? I have no doubt that these HPE members and their partners left the tour inspired by their knowledge that they are helping in the success of our future in space and on the moon. Their efforts will help to enhance not only technology but expertise of all sorts in the years to come and it was a delight to share the experience with them.  

And they may have learned a good bit more Texas history than they expected on the ride down and back! I never let an opportunity pass to educate and enlighten, even with brilliant and inspiring visitors like these.  

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