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“Not up to usual NASA standards”

NASA Ames Visitor Center
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Attraction details
Owner description: This major NASA research center in the heart of Silicon Valley features an interactive visitors center.
Harrow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Not up to usual NASA standards”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2014 via mobile

Went to the Ames on way back to SF at end of holiday. Wife and elder son space obsessed so always visit relevant places on trips.
First point to make in fairness is that it is free and doesn't claim to rival the visitor centre at Cape Canaveral or Houston.
The 'tent' is effectively a permanent structure and houses a slightly disparate collection of things. The film we saw was very much primary/elementary school level and my teens swiftly bailed. Some of the exhibits were diverting but little more. Took about 45 minutes to see it all.

In summary worth a visit if you are passing and particularly interested. Don't make a special trip. We think a much better visit if you have an hour or two is the Moffett field air museum next door.

3 Thank DJAV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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112 reviews from our community

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Fresno, CA
Level Contributor
95 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Great place to take kids”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

A small but well organized hands-on exploration of the contributions of Ames. The exhibits change, but there's lots of technology and different things to appeal to different ages. Our visit was rushed a bit as a busload of pre-schoolers arrived, and we chose not to share with 30 4-year olds, but we saw what was important to us.

Our biggest regret is not realizing there is also a museum inside Moffet Field - be sure you budget time for this.

This is also a great stop if you're needing to get out of the ca for a whiler, or if you simply want an easy adventure with the kids.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Practicaltraveler4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tracy, California
Level Contributor
201 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2014

On December 20, 1939, The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) founded NASA Ames (named after “Joseph Sweetman Ames” on December 20, 1939) Research Center as an aircraft research laboratory and in 1958; it became part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Ames was “originally” founded to engage in wind-tunnel research on the aerodynamics of propeller-driven aircraft; however its role has developed to encompass spaceflight and information technology.

Ames plays a critical role in many of today’s NASA missions in support of America's space and aeronautics programs and Moffett Field is one of 10 NASA field installations.

Ames is a leader in information technology research with a focus on super computing, networking, intelligent systems, and conducts the critical research and development that make NASA missions possible.

It leads in nanotechnology, fundamental space biology, biotechnology, aerospace and thermal protection systems, and human factors research. Their research in astrobiology focuses on the effects of gravity on living things, and the nature and distribution of stars, planets and life in the universe.

In addition, Ames works collaboratively with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), conducting research in air traffic management to make safer, cheaper and more efficient air travel a reality.

Ames engages in information and education outreach, forms collaborative partnerships, and fosters commercial application of NASA technologies. Ames is developing the NASA Research Park, an integrated, dynamic research and education community created to cultivate diverse partnerships with academia, industry and non-profit organizations in support of NASA’s mission.

Ames operates one of the world′s fastest supercomputers, Pleiades, which will be further enhanced and is scheduled to reach 10 petaflops of processing power by 2012.

Although Ames is a NASA Research Center, and not a flight center, it has nevertheless been closely involved in a number of astronomy and space missions.

From 1965 to 1978, the “Pioneer space program's” eight successful space missions were managed by Charles Hall at Ames, initially aimed at the inner solar system.

In 1972, Ames supported the bold flyby missions to Jupiter and Saturn with Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11. Those two missions were trail blazers (radiation environment, new moons, gravity-assist flybys) for the planners of the more complex Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions, launched five years later.

In 1978, the end of the program saw a return to the inner solar system, with the Pioneer Venus Orbiter and Multiprobe, this time using orbital insertion rather than flyby missions.

On September 28, 2005, both Google and Ames Research Center went into a long-term research partnership. The Planetary Content Project seeks to integrate and improve the data that Google uses for its Google Moon and Google Mars projects.

Our visit:
So my son was doing a school project on space and one of the requirements was to visit the “NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field” to obtain further information on space exploration.

Moffett Field used to be a thriving military base but “thanks our government’s 1991 reorganization” which included base closures, NAS Moffett Field was closed!”

NASA, the space agency is a huge organization which has been responsible for all the space missions in this country so it came as a surprise when we were directed to this “white canopy” type of tent, which was as large as a warehouse out in the middle of this parking lot.

I’m thinking, this is it? NASA, the huge conglomerate is settling for this? The outside looked small but once you entered the “building” it’s quite large inside with some impressive exhibits on NASA’s space exploration. The museum only took us about an hour to tour but my son obtained the information he came for.

We walked over to their “Gift Shop” which overlooked “Hangar One,” originally a US Navy airship hangar (blimps or air ships as they were called), here at Moffett Field.

The gift shop was set up in such a way that it looked like you were walking into another museum, at least, that’s my thought. The gift shop had planes hanging from the ceiling with maps and paintings on the wall and other items that was fun to look and a lot of material relating to the space program.

Overall, it was a good place to tour NASA’s space program but there’s not much else to do on this base.

Construction of the new Google project which is near Google's Googleplex headquarters began in 2013 and has a target opening date of 2015. It’s called "Bay View" as it overlooks San Francisco Bay (“Review pending!”).

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Holdtheair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2014

The museum is free and provides a look into the NASA Space Station. Delightful exhibits and the gift shop sells "space food."

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Damon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
154 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Not enough within the big tent”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2014

We arrived on a Tuesday and there was no one around so we had the whole place to ourselves. Unfortunately the nearby airfield was closed. The Ames centre was interesting especially the simulator, for young audiences. There is a stripped out capsule so visitors can see what space there is to move around in. There is a mini theatrette and helpful staff, but in comparison to other NASA centres, this one is a disappointment.

Visited January 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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