Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Visit with Space Shuttle Endeavour

Kennedy Space Center opens its Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit this weekend, so Mr. Hunter has been remembering his visit this past winter to the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit at the California Science Center.  (You may recall some divine photos from the days when Endeavour was towed through the streets of Los Angeles.  And you can bet that Mr. Hunter and I were sorry to miss that sight.  Here's NASA's official Flickr set showing the move.)

The California Science Center's exhibit currently has Endeavour displayed horizontally, so you can walk under and around the orbiter.  There are plans to eventually change this configuration so that visitors can get different views.

 Last time I'd seen Endeavour (at the 2012 farewell flyover), it surprised me to see how worn she looked, though of course it makes sense that a vehicle whose job it was to be rocketed into space and then to reenter the Earth's atmosphere repeatedly would not be in pristine condition.  At the California Science Center, you can walk underneath Endeavour, so I got a closer look at the wear and tear on her heat-shielding tiles.

Heat-shielding tiles on Endeavour's underside.

At the California Science Center, Endeavour also looked smaller than I had anticipated, even though I'd seen her flying overhead on the 747.  I suppose my expectations were influenced by the breathtaking Saturn V exhibit at KSC, which has the massive Saturn V rocket suspended overhead in stages.  It sounds like the new Space Shuttle Atlantis display in Florida will include replica external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, which should help visitors get a more vivid perspective.

Mr. Hunter's family had the chance to see two shuttle launches in 2002 because my dad was working on an experiment that flew up to the International Space Station on STS-110 and then returned to Earth on STS-111.  So Mr. Hunter had to pose with the signs about those missions.

"Our" shuttle missions.

Thank you, Endeavour!

Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit
California Science Center
Los Angeles, California
March 2013

Official site for the Endeavour exhibit -

Official site for Kennedy Space Center's Atlantis exhibit -

Los Angeles Times gallery:
Space Shuttle Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A. -

I particular enjoyed this L.A. Times photo of Endeavour rolling by while two boys played basketball in their backyard.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Swell Shark

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Mr. Hunter encountered the notable sight of a soon-to-be swell shark scooting around inside its egg case, waiting to be born.  And according to this fact sheet from the aquarium, it can take between nine and twelve months for a swell shark egg to hatch.

Here's a young swell shark outside of its egg case.   

Here's a quick movie of what the unhatched swell shark looked like as it moved around in its backlit egg case:

The Aquarium of the Pacific also has a nice fact sheet about the swell shark.

Kelp Forest exhibit
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California
December 2012

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hall of Fame: Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards

Stand at attention!  
Mr. Hunter and the Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards have arrived.

When we were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the guards were part of a daily evening ceremony.  One afternoon we happened by as the guards were lining up and preparing to make their big entrance.  I asked if they would mind posing, and as you can see, they obliged.  I love this photo!  And it also makes me laugh to see the young man wearing the crown of palm fronds who snuck into a second photo of Mr. Hunter, the guard, and yours truly.

In 1997, the guard welcomed Michael Jackson when he arrived to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  I wonder if any of these guards were part of that reception.  Here's a photo of Michael flanked by the guards.

Photo from about MJ et al's blog entry about Michael Jackson's 1997 Hawaii visit.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Guards also paid their respects at a 2007 memorial service for Don Ho.  Since 2009, this civilian drill team has been known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village Royal Honor Guard.

Honolulu, Hawaii
July 2003

Official site for the Hawaii Royal Honor Guard -

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Imitations: Ana

Ana's an actress, so it's no surprise that she can do a mean--even hypnotic--imitation of Mr. Hunter.

October 2003