Next week, I travel to California and will experience two cosmically-driven institutions: Griffith Observatory and The Museum of Planetarium Projectors (above, courtesy Owen Phairis).
Three planetariums engaged in astronaut training. Morehead was the trailblazer and chief among them, claiming all but one of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts on our list alumni, with fifteen years’ of contracts with NASA to back up the claim. The other two planetariums include Griffith Observatory’s Samuel Oschin Planetarium and the Burke Baker Planetarium in Houston. (Where else?)
This trip affords me the chance to visit one of those: Griffith. I’ll interview historian Tony Cook to put their astronaut training program in context alongside Tony Jenzano’s innovative program at Morehead. Already noteworthy from phone discussions with Cook: Griffith Observatory trained Chuck Yeager and his squadron, plus dozens (hundreds?) of other World War II pilots.
My second stop is The Museum of Planetarium Projectors, but why? See the picture above? It’s only two hours’ drive from Griffith, so how could I not? And it’s for sale, so investors should take note.
After both visits and interviews, I’ll be sure to report the most interesting discoveries I unearth. Meantime, wish me luck with my fifteen-hour driving day.