NASA’s space exploration, particularly during the Cold War Space Race is a period that holds endless fascination. An era where scientific boundaries were being pushed, invention was running wild and brave figures were putting themselves at risk in experimental machines.
Astronauts became heroes, they pushed the frontiers of where man had been, they gambled on their technology to keep them safe as they ventured into one of the most dangerous places.
It’s hard to imagine that you could take space exploration and make it rather dull and uninspiring, but fair play to the Kennedy Space Center, they manage it.
There’s the dull film sections, which often go so heavy on the cheese that they should probably warn lactose intolerant people not to visit. There’s the way the displays are slow and ponderous, that to get to see the Saturn rocket you have to sit through a recreation of the 3 minutes leading up to launch. Three minutes! That’s a whole lot of people saying “check”, you could cut out two and a half minutes and it would be a lot better.
I was massively disappointed by the experience. There were a few interesting bits and pieces, and seeing the rockets was cool, but far too much felt flat and lifeless. There’s a film advertised as being narrated by Patrick Stewart, but he barely features and much of the voiceover is provided by a trio of astronauts who are remarkably dull. It kinda ruins the image of them as courageous space heroes. Less Flash Gordon and more Gordon Brown.
Oh, and the “Moon rock” you can touch is absolutely tiny.
It was pretty cool to see some of the ships they used, especially as it highlighted just how uncomfortable and dangerous they were. The Gemini 9A capsule looked tiny and imagining spending a couple of days in it, with another person, sounds like a nightmare. How the astronauts could put up with it and not constantly think about how they were a few inches from the cold, deadly vacuum of space is beyond me. I guess I don’t have the right stuff.
There are interesting things at the Center, and some interesting stories, but they’re not relayed or displayed in an entertaining or particularly captivating way.
I just felt it was all a bit of a let down.
One of the highlights was that on the drive back I finally got to see some wild gators.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.