Sunday, September 16, 2007

Messing about in Mountain View

We spent most of Saturday in and around Mountain View. It has a real downtown, although dominated by restaurants. The shops are somewhat different from Los Gatos:

We had some lunch in a Thai noodle bar - Finlay wolfed down bowls of spicy noodles although they both gave up trying to eat soup with chopsticks.

We then headed off to the Visitor Center at NASA Ames Research. We have been there before, but the exhibits were changed and now include a mock-up of a part of the SpaceLab in which Ames was involved. There was also a photo opportunity.

As usual Finlay was the most interested and has clarified his desire to be an astronaut: now he want to be a scientist who makes things that astronauts use.

The staff at the visitor center recommended that we also visited the Museum at Moffat Field. This turned out to be fascinating. The giant hanger that we can see driving past was originally built to house dirigibles, or blimps, employed by the UA Navy for surveillance. At least one of these also acted as an aircraft carrier with small planes attached below. These were in their heyday in the 1930s-1940s.

The museum was staffed by volunteers, one of whom did a sterling job answering a million questions. He treated the boys by opening an aircraft cockpit that they are currently restoring, and letting them sit in the pilot and co-pilot seats and 'fly the plane'.

The boys left the museum full of enthusiasm about planes and flying:

In the back here you can see one end of the giant hangar, and also the cockpit that we visited.

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