Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

In Washington DC, just off the National Mall, you can actually touch a moon rock. I did, 30 years ago, and I have never forgotten it. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is just such a magical place.

It really encompasses the dream of humankind to fly like birds and go beyond what we know. These are such uniquely human traits and adventurous humans accomplished it!

These are the things which left the most memorable impressions on me, and for you, there will be the possibilities of many others:

___ touching the moon rock – a piece of 4 billion year old lunar basalt brought back by the Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972 from the Valley of Taurus-Littow. It is in the Milestones of Flight Gallery.

___ standing level with Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, high in the air, while imaging his grueling flight to stay alive to accomplish his dream

___ seeing Amelia Earhart’s RED Lockheed Model 5B Vega and some personal gear – the jacket of the world’s great aviatrix is there (it is no longer on display at the moment, but you can see it online at the link I provide below).

Learn about her esteemed career before the ill fated mission. She was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was the first woman to fly nonstop and alone over the Atlantic Ocean.

On May 20, 1932, exactly 5 years after Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart set out in her Lockheed 5B Vega departing from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and she landed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland about 15 hours later, during which the plane was on fire and she had to just skim the waves! With that feat, she also became only the second person to solo the Atlantic, the first being Charles Lindbergh in 1927.

___ seeing the immensity Apollo main capsule (and that was matched by standing inside a used Russian equivalent at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, BC) compared with the first American Mercury flight space capsules, which were right on the floor, just enclosed in plastic, when I went

It’s a place of dreams, as well as of technology. There are many ways to learn more while there, regardless of age. The beautiful building is an inspiration, too.

Links:
Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart’s Flying Coat

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Washington, DC Article Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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