I’ll start this post by telling a story. I was born in Los Gatos, California back in 1963. I remember coming home early from a picnic as a kid so we could see the first man to walk on the Moon live on TV. I grew up watching the Apollo missions on black and white TV’s. I burned a shirt I was ironing for a job interview while at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo when I witnessed the Challenger Shuttle explode on live TV in my studio apartment. I even visited the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston a few years ago. But the one memory that has lingered all of these years was one from my teens.
We lived a few blocks down from the high spot of Blossom Hill by Union Junior High School (the dividing line between Los Gatos and San Jose ran down the middle of our street). I would ride my bike all through the foothills. There was one vista that gave me an awesome view of the Moffett Field Hangers on a clear day. I always wondered what it would be like to actually get to go inside of one of those hangers.
Fast forward thirty years. I am sitting here updating this blog while sitting in a room in Building 19 on the NASA Ames Research Center Campus at Moffett Field. I’ve stayed in some very upscale hotels in my years, but never has the location been as exciting as this one (although if you remove the microwave and flat screen TV, this room would look as if it had not changed since the 60’s). In the morning, if the sun is out (it’s raining like cats and dogs tonight), I will literally be in the shadow of Hangar-1 (see picture). I will be spending the next two days as a guest here participating in the ‘Virtual Worlds and Immersive Environments Workshop’. The agenda looks amazing. This is truly the fulfillment of a childhood dream for me. I will be at this workshop with 68 other people. I can only imagine that some of them are feeling the same on the eve of this workshop (who didn’t dream of space exploration and NASA as a kid?).
As most of you know, my 15 year old triplets have helped me with the PacRimX Project since day one. I registered them all to attend this conference with me when it was announced a few months back. Because there is limited space, I am only being allowed to bring one of them with me. One of my sons has always expressed an interest in a career in science and engineering, and specifically doing something with NASA. I took Bryan with me to Palm Springs this past October to help me present on PacRimX at the Annual CETPA Conference. Mark has not attended an event yet representing PacRimX, so the next one to come up is already reserved for him.
The exciting thing tonight was watching Corey’s reactions as we got closer to this facility, and then his expression as the same hangar from my youth was silhouetted by the red lights and city lights around Moffett Field in the rainy night sky. Once we passed through the guard gate and were on the grounds he shouted “Yes! We’re here!”. My dream had to wait 30 years to be realized, his is being realized at the age when I first had the dream while looking out at the hangars. How cool is that?
So to get pumped about this workshop I am posting a video on the NASA CoLab Second Life Mission:
NASA CoLab Second Life Mission – YouTube, 4:21 mins
I will be here for the next two days, all day every day. I have been given permission to blog about this event (that is closed to the press). I will balance my enthusiasm with an attempt to capture the essence of this workshop for those who are not here. It may be early in the week before I have a chance to post, but I will get some content up from this conference.
I guess I should get some sleep now since I am presenting tomorrow.