A tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston shows what water and space have in common.
After seeing the height of technology at NASA, I was shocked to find that one of the most bountiful resources on earth -- water -- could still blow my mind.
It has now been a couple weeks since the last slideshow of really cool tech I got to see when I went behind the scenes at NASA with the Littelfuse team and 10 lucky contest winners. If you haven't seen them yet, check out my experiences in the NASA Mission Control Room as well as the trip to the robotics laboratory where I got to shake hands with Robonaut. Topping those was going to be difficult.
Our shuttle pulled up to the NBL, or Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and every person on board got giddy with excitement. It was quite humorous actually, we've been shown real-time communication with humans in space, we've shaken hands with one of the most advanced robotic systems in the world, and we were all giddy over what is essentially just a big pool of water. However, this pool happened to have replica parts of the ISS inside it as well as a few astronauts!
Of course, calling it "just a big pool" might be a bit of an understatement. It is 6.2 million gallons. That might just qualify it as a really big pool.
It is difficult to judge depth from the surface, but the bottom of the pool is 40 feet down.
These are the large cranes for maneuvering training equipment into and out of the pool.
I'm still not quite sure why this was so amazing. It isn't the largest pool in the world. It isn't some amazing piece of technology not found anywhere else. However, every one of the winners stood at the edge of the pool with amazement in their eyes. We all agreed that this was truly fascinating and easily one of the coolest things to see at the Johnson Space Center.