NASA Ames visitor center doors

Thursday Doors: NASA Ames

Back in the 1990s when I was a graduate student at Stanford, Mountain View meant one of two things to me: good international restaurants on Castro St, and Hangar One on the NASA/Ames Research Center Campus on Moffett Field. 

Moffett Field. Image credit: Wikipedia

You could see Hangar One from a distance, and as a Star Trek fan, I always thought it held a special promise. I didn’t know what was in it and didn’t really want to know the details. I just loved the scale of it, the sheer size and awesomeness.

Image of Hangar One at Moffett Field, 1999. (Photo credit: NASA Ames Research Center

It no longer looks like it used to, and I did a post on that topic last year. Google is restoring it for what are bound to be nefarious purposes involving virtual reality, trips to the moon, and paleo-vegan cuisine. (Also, since this is Thursday Doors, where’s the door? I don’t see a single door on that thing!)

So. Second in a short series of posts about the “Geekiest Hot Spots” in Silicon Valley and their doors, I present you with . . . other, non-Hangar-One, cool stuff at NASA-Ames that I never knew about when I lived here the last time!

NASA-Ames has a visitor center that is free and open to the public. This visitor center, like the International Space Station, is home to a geocache.

Fittingly, on the outside it looks like a moon bounce, with doors for the kiddos to enter and exit the play area:

NASA Ames visitor center doors

The visitor center has a substantial exhibit about the International Space Station. It’s not the real station but it has a round doorway:


Inside the ISS exhibit, there are fun things like examples of space food and a video about an experiment testing the effects of zero gravity on frog development. Behind these doors were the incubators where the frog eggs were kept:


I won’t spoil where the geocache is, but it’s somewhere here inside the ISS model. Finding this cache is special to me for another reason. I’m writing a science fiction novel, and one of the plot points of the novel involves trying to get funding to build a space station. One of the characters, an engineer who works on the hydroponics and plants for the station, is also a geocacher. I imagine him planning to hide a cache in one of the plant-growing tunnels.

Lettuce in Space (BBC News)

We also have the door to the moonrock room:


The door to the gift shop:


And an interesting door at the end of this model of SOFIA, a flying infrared observatory:


My son does not look particularly thrilled to be posing in a space suit, but I was! (And note one more Thursday door behind us on the right)


This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. 

22 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: NASA Ames”

  1. That hangar is amazing. I love the shape of it. The one at Kennedy Space Center is just a boring square building (from far away), but when you get close, the chill bumps rise on your arms, WOW! and, the Caterpillar transports that move the rockets are massive! Really enjoyed your perspective on Doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how you take the concept of ‘a door’ and totally blow it off it’s hinges by providing door-lessness and then, doubling down on the bounce house doors. These doors are more a window into your creative soul, I think. *Willingly steps right in.*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Cape Canaveral. I would love to go inside the space shuttle. I have a friend who is a reporter who gets to watch shuttle launches, and he posts about it on Facebook. That always sounds like a great thing to do. But they are cancelled surprisingly often.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I imagine the weather has to be just right. When I was teaching kindergarten I took the kids to Space Camp in Ogden. They had a replica of a shuttle there the kids could get into and learn from. It was such fun watching the kids absorb all that info. I especially loved the old-fashioned trainer they used to use to teach you what it feels like during lift off. It was essentially two seats on a long cross bar and it would get going REALLY fast round and round. They’d give the kids bean bags and tell them to throw them at and hit the other kid. Of course they never could, which was part of the lesson. But it was such a hoot watching them try to walk when they’d get off that thing! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That is definitely one place I would love to visit. The space suits look cool – although your son doesn’t seem to think so, by the look on his face. You, on the other hand, look happy to be ‘wearing’ it.

    Liked by 1 person

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