When I was 9 years old and was living back in the old country– the Philippines– I collected Tang UPC Codes. I collected Tang UPC codes because you could exchange them for a NASA Space Pen, the kind astronauts used.
Collecting the codes required effort. My family lived in a small fishing town. We shopped at a public market made up of small stores and local vendors where bartering skills were imperative. In order to purchase Tang, we had to go to the supermarkets in Manila, which was at least a couple of jeepney rides away.
Back then, I didn’t– couldn’t– even dream about going to NASA. NASA was in another country, thus, out of reach. And, in my 9 year-old my mind, it was a special place only accessible to important people doing really big things. The pen was as close as I was going to get to NASA.
Receiving the e-mail that I was one of the 100 randomly selected to participate in NASA JPL Social on November 4th and 5th was surreal.*
Most of the pictures below are from the first half hour.
*I have been to JPL before, but it’s a completely different experience when you are there with some sort of a badge.