Thursday, July 21, 2005

Big and clean...

All right, all right, what did I do today? Well, right after I posted this morning I proceeded to lock myself out of my lab, and my Glenn Research Center ID and key inside the lab. This posed somewhat of a problem when I left for the tour of Plum Brook Station, but I learned that when security guards are checking IDs for a whole bus full of people, they don't really care what you show them after a while.

At Plum Brook Station I saw the largest vacuum chamber in the world. Nevertheless, it was a bit underwhelming-just a big room with very very thick walls. The highlight of my day was the tour guide for the other test facilities we saw (B-2 and SPF?). He was a mechanical engineer but he looked like your stereotypical geologist: big bushy beard and a big bushy gut. I loved it. Geologist-but-he-doesn't-realize-it was very into talking about safety. He emphasized how important it was to know every little detail about the test facilities so you know where to run if something goes wrong. For example, if there is a liquid nitrogen spill and you step in it, your feet are gone. But if you happen to be wearing foot protection and can stay in the spill, the nitrogen will eventually turn into a gas and you will suffocate and collapse onto the floor and freeze and shatter like a bouncy ball. Another scenario: liquid oxygen condenses and then drips onto your pants. You don't realize it's liquid oxygen and think it's just water. Then you go over to machine something and a spark lands on your pants. Now your pants have been completely incinerated. Oooh, there was one other good safety scenario but I forgot it. Damn!

Some people got to ride the “Aero Bus” to Plum Brook Station, but I wasn't one of the lucky ones. Apparently it has chairs that swivel a full 360 degrees and satellite television…but no air-conditioning.

Today also featured: a cookie cake! Of the moon!

1 comment:

Erik Wirfs-Brock said...

Okay when do you get to tour the secret weapon labs where they make the giant robots.