Adler Staff Star: Meet Alan
What do you enjoy the most about working at the Adler?
The sense that we’re all on the same team behind the same mission, willing to try new things and to make mistakes, and that we’re all eager to learn. It’s an incredibly supportive environment and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
What is your favorite sky show or exhibition?
The Gemini 12 capsule. It’s a small can with an absurd amount of dials, buttons, and switches that they stacked on top of a colossal bomb to blast them to the most hostile environment imaginable, while the occupants relied on computational power significantly less complicated than my phone to keep them alive and get them home. Additionally, I don’t think I’ve ever had a colleague with whom I’d be okay spending 3 days, 22 hours, and 34 minutes in that tiny a vehicle with no showers. That 2-hour spacewalk must have been such a relief for both of them. The Gemini 7, where Colonel Borman and Captain Lovell spent an entire two weeks in space together, is almost unimaginable. I get testy after short road trips in a hatchback!
What is your favorite Adler memory?
Without the Adler, I’d have never known how amazing it is to be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse. So I brought my family camping to southern Illinois for the event and got to experience it while wearing our Adler glasses. Words can’t do it justice: all I can say is that you really need to do it for yourself when you can. It’s totally worth it, and we’ll be doing it again in 2024.
Why, in your opinion, is space freaking awesome?
In space, all the rules seem suddenly very different. Once you’re past that thin, thin layer of atmosphere that separates us from space, that reassuring 1G of gravity? Gone. Pressure? Nope. Wind resistance? Not a thing. We take so many of those factors for granted every day and they just don’t apply once you’re only 100 miles up and moving fast. Even getting rid of heat when you’re in space becomes an interesting challenge! For people in space, you’ve got to take so many new factors into consideration, then build in failsafe upon failsafe upon failsafe, or you’re going to die. But because there’s still so much knowledge to gather, we keep going up there anyway, and we learn so, so much. If that’s not awesome I don’t know what is.
Share one fun fact about yourself!
I once had a job playing Tetris professionally. No, really. Hours upon hours upon hours of it. I’ll never play again. I can still hear the theme music in my nightmares.