From microgravity simulators to spider robots, there’s a lot of cool stuff packed into NASA Johnson’s Building 9.
They got to see all the space goodies stowed away there and meet the next crew of astronauts who’ll staff the International Space Station (ISS).
In fact, you can tour a mockup of the ISS in building nine, where technology eventually used by astronauts in actual space is tested on the ground for effectiveness and durability.
The mockup is constructed of life sized modules about as big as a school bus each, according to Jalopnik, meant to mirror the real thing.
While they wouldn’t hold up in zero gravity, the facility is meant to give astronauts an idea of the vehicles and equipment they’ll be using once they reach the ISS.
They even run disaster drills using these ground modules, like filling them with smoke and having astronauts find their way through them to test their familiarity with the environment.
You can also see how astronauts sleep and deal with the awkward situation of using a toilet in zero g.
NASA’s also got a bunch of the robots and vehicles regularly used on missions stashed here.
There’s the car capable of driving sideways and spin a donut in place due to its independently moving wheels and what Jalopnik calls a “space RV” designed for a couple astronauts to live in for up to two weeks on the surface of an alien planet.
The rest of the facility is just as cool:
If you don’t get your fill of ISS action in Building 9, you can see the mission control room that pilots it through orbit here on Earth.
A look behind the scenes may leave you with a new appreciation of just how much effort goes into putting human beings out into the vastness of space.