Mr. Sullivan goes to Washington A day at the national mall

Yes, I played hooky on Wednesday, taking the time off of the STC Technical Summit to wander around the National Mall. It was my first time in our nation's capital, and there was no way I was going to miss a chance to see all these amazing sights, including the Capitol Building itself. Not being an English major, but working alongside many who are, I took the time to double-check the usage of both capital and Capitol while writing this up...Rumor has it that Thomas Jefferson chose the term Capitol after the Capitoline Hill which was the political center of the city in ancient Rome and adjacent to the Roman Forum.

My first stop was at the National Air and Space Museum

As a Freshman, I was an aerospace engineering major, so this was an easy stop for me!

My buddy Norm told me to look for SpaceShipOne, as he got to sign the exhaust cone before it was hung there...I laughed when it was literally hanging over my head when I entered.

I'd hoped to see the SR-71 Blackbird (too big) and the B2 Bomber (too secret), but there were so many other great things there that I didn't even ask about them until I'd spent over 2 hours there!

There are even conceptual exhibits like the Star Trek model

autonomous (self-driving) cars

And WWII soldier art

The imagery in this exhibit was sobering

There was even an exhibit on watches and navigation.

Ever wonder how big the sun is, compared to Earth? (Hint: It's BIG)

In case you're wondering, we're all in that tiny square in the lower left!

Of course, there were lunar landing exhibits throughout the museum

"You want me to sit WHERE?!"

And wearing WHAT?!

Classic NASA Tech Comm, circa 1960

NASA Tech Comm 2.0, 9 years later

Check out the metal "tires"

The Wright brothers exhibit was really interesting

Reading about their process brought me back to my AE classes and glider project in college.

This model of the Enterprise brought back memories of a Tiger Cruise aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, CV-63 when I was the youngest person onboard.

The satellites and telescopes were all shapes and sizes

Sputnik was only the size of an exercise ball...a 58 cm diameter polished metal sphere

My favorite exhibit was the Saturn V exhaust cones. So big they used mirrors to illustrate the shear size of the array

When I finally dragged myself out of the Aerospace Museum, I got to walk the National Mall. First I walked up to the Capitol Building

Then to the Washington Monument

This made for a great walk as the sun was starting to set

I got to finish up at the Lincoln Memorial, which also gave me the excellent view of the Washington Monument above.

The Lincoln Memorial is a wonderful place for reflection, even if it's not terribly quiet at sunset

Along the way, there were so many other things to see, including the Whitehouse, WWII Memorial, Natural History Museum, and countless other parks, museums, and generally great people watching!

Created By
Matt Sullivan

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