On Friday, September 14th, after my oncology consult at John Hopkins, I went to the Space Telescope Science Institute (also at Johns Hopkins) with Ace Jordyn and Lisa Costello. This is the organization that manages the Hubble Space Telescope as well as the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope, along with numerous other space science projects. My good friend astronomy professor and hard SF writer Dr. Michael S. Brotherton had arranged the tour with his friend and collaborator STSI program scientist Jerry Kriss.
Jerry met us outside the Bloomberg building. He took us through there, including views of some really cool historical astronomy artifacts, a number of spacecraft mockups, and a look at his own office. We then crossed the street to the STSI building, where we saw a lot of space art, more mockups and models, the control center from which Hubble was managed for a while, and where JWST will be managed, as well as lots of scientists, grad students and odd and interesting factoids. As Jerry had said when setting up the tour, “All the interesting stuff is in space, we’re just a bunch of people doing things with computers.”
Except they’re a bunch of people doing really cool things with computers. And Jerry’s passion for his work shone through like a bonfire. The man is in love with space, and he works there every day. I envy him his enthusiasm.
We got a lot of information about how JWST is being built, an overview of the history of space-based astronomy, and a look at some pretty neat stuff. My thanks to Jerry for hosting us, and to Mike for arranging it.
As usual, more at the Flickr set.
Photos copy; 2012, Lisa Costello, Ace Jordyn and Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
This work by Lisa Costello, Ace Jordyn and Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.