On Thursday, I arrived in Wichita for the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) conference. While saying "Kansas Association of Teachers of English" may sound awkard, I'll assume it's grammatically correct.
When John and Bryan picked me up (they're both English teachers...I mean, teachers of English), they took me straight to the Cosmosphere.
All three of us are space nerds, and when they found this out about me, they made sure to include this in my visit. And it was, for lack of a better English word, awesome! First of all, the museum has a moon rock. This little lunar nugget was protected by several sensors and flashing lights, so I even felt a bit nervous getting this close to photograph it.
Something I had never heard about, or just don't remember being taught in American History, are USSR pennants that reached the moon a decade before we stepped on it. When one of these hit the moon, it scattered the tiny metal plates all over the surface.
Maybe you've heard of something called Apollo XIII. But have you ever wondered where you could see the Command Module Odyssey for yourself? Well, it's in Kansas, of course!
And now, here's a picture of the Spacenutz.
The hotel where we stayed, and the location of the conference, was having a pumpkin contest between the different staff groups. This is only a sampling of their very creative pieces...
But I wasn't here for Kansas'/Kansas's (whatever!) spacepumpkin goodness. I was here for the conference, which involved meeting the 2011 Newbery Medal winner, Clare Vanderpool, a native Kansan, Kansian...person from Kansas. (These people who teach English make me nervous.) And I got my copy of Moon Over Manifest signed!
After lunch, it was my turn to speak...
...and sign books.
Well, I'm heading downstairs for KATE's Centennial Celebration Reception, and then a few teachers promised to take me out for some great local ice cream.
Oh, but guess what else I saw in Kansas. An actual NASA disposable absorption containment trunk.
But I like to call them astroboxers!