Last Friday, before the amazing Yuri’s Night event, I was invited on a Yuri’s Night tour of the NASA Ames Research Center located at Moffett Field in Mountain View. I shot a bunch of photos of the tour, which started out at the NASA Ames Exploration Center.
Our first stop was the Arc Jet Complex where NASA does thermal materials testing for the heat shields on space vehicles. Talk about rocket science, these guys were the real deal. While there we got to take a look at the actual arc jet which they use for Thermal Protection System (TPS) testing.
Another stop on the trip was the FutureFlight Central building which is part of NASA’s Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs). Their they do Air Traffic Control/Air Traffic Management (ATC/ATM) simulations and are currently working on O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), a redesign of Chicago O’Hare Airport as well as simulations for the new Ivanpah Valley Airport, opening in 2017 south of Las Vegas.
Finally we visited the Columbia Supercomputer, a giant 10,240 CPU SGI Altix supercluster that uses Intel Itanium 2 processors located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Facility (NAS). Named in honor of Space Shuttle Columbia, it handles many of the processing jobs for all of the NASA facilities and it currently at 90% capacity. Here are the specs. While we were there they showed us some amazing data visualizations on a giant grid made up of virtual desktops running Fedora Core 2.