This is the statue of Ellie that sits out in front of the Mission Control building. On clear winter nights (like tonight) at the Strang Institute, she seems to be pointing right at Planet X’s position in the sky!
Posts Tagged Strang Institute
During my lunch break today I wandered the grounds of the Strang Institute where I caught sight of our two cloned mastodons. Betsy and Violet are pretty elusive, so if you spot them then you’re pretty lucky. I ran across them goofing around in the relatively warm January sun and did some quick sketches. Violet even came right up to me to see what I was doing.
I’ve posted about Mission Control from time to time, but I’ve never said much about the amazing people who work here. So I drew up a little chart of the people who I interact with the most when I’m volunteering here at the Strang Institute (a couple of which appeared here too). Note how I conveniently put myself right at center stage.
Hey friends of Ellie! We want to send you a special electronic Holiday card featuring a pic of our favorite Christmas tree ornament. If you’ve left a comment here, or followed Ellie’s adventures via Facebook and (now) Twitter, you’re golden! You need do nothing more. If you haven’t done any of those, now’s the time. You have until next Friday, the 23rd, 12am EST, when we send them out. Act now!
To tide you over, we’d like to share some pics of our tiny Christmas tree here at Ellie Mission Control at the Strang Institute. All manner of strange things make it on and under the tree, including the head from a Mister Bill stuffed doll that Institute mascot Bijou the dog pulled off and chewed up (I forgot to photograph that, though).
Enjoy and Happy Holidays from everyone at Mission Control!
I went rooting through some old papers here at Mission Control and discovered two pages of an interview with Dr. Strang in a 1968 copy of Awesome Science Magazine. Click on the picture to read it!
Sorry, the rest of the interview is missing. But in the back of the magazine I found these classified ads under the cartooning heading (for reals). I’d have paid $4.95 to get an education in commercial art!
I picked up my nieces last Saturday for a picnic and hike around the Strang Institute grounds. Aside from the many woods, gardens, fountains, and statues all throughout the campus, they also got to see fun and exciting things like the computer monitor I sit in front of while downloading Ellie’s transmissions here at Mission Control.
What they didn’t get to see was the pair of mastodons that wander the grounds. Violet and Betsy were cloned from two different mastodons who lived here thousands of years ago. Betsy, the older of the two, has adopted Violet as her own daughter, though the two are not related. It wasn’t for a lack of looking that we didn’t find them. The two are particularly stealthy, despite their size.
Some of you may be too young to remember, but back when Ellie was launched into space in 1972, she was super popular. Beyond super popular. She was everywhere and on everything. She even had a balloon in the Thanksgiving parade that made quite a news story back in the day. I know it’s not the season for turkey and stuffing, but I thought I’d share this clipping from the Bonne Isle Bumblebee of November 24, 1972.
An anonymous reader asked in the comments if the Strang Institute is affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis. I answered in the comments section, but I thought I’d add the answer here too in case anyone missed it. I didn’t know why Anonymous asked that until I Googled Washington U. So everyone knows what I’m talking about, the Strang Institute logo from 1966 (like what appears on the Symposium announcement from the last post) looks just like Brookings Hall, the main gate, at Wash U in St. Louis. I was told that the gatehouse at the Institute was designed after Trinity College at Cambridge University in England. Well, sort of. Here’s what I found out:
More fun things I didn’t know. It’s always assumed that Carver Agricultural College and Carver Hall are named for botanist George Washington Carver. Though that makes a good story, Carver was only just out of college when the agricultural college was built. It’s actually named for Aloysius Carver, a local and very successful farmer who bred new and “interesting” produce. He created the college from his success. When he died he bequeathed a portion of the campus to his good friend Cornelius Strang for his own research projects. The rest is history. Carver Agricultural College still maintains a small presence on the campus of the Strang Institute and their gardens provide all of the produce for the institute. Some of it very “interesting”.
So there you go!
There was a symposium held here at the Strang Institute forty five years ago to discuss plans to send a probe to explore Planet X, mere months after its discovery. All the while NASA was already making plans to send men to the Moon. It would be another six years before Ellie would be sent on her trip in 1972, three whole years after the Moon landing. Of course it would take her thirty years to reach her destination in 2002, and another eight years for her signals to finally reach us. That’s lots of years. Makes you wonder what’s going on there right now, eight years after the story we see unfolding before us has taken place.
Here’s the announcement for the symposium as it appeared in some science journal or the National Geographic or some such magazine. The scientists who spoke at the event are the same people who were recorded for Ellie’s greeting. They’re the first human beings that Jeff and Muffin had ever seen!
I dug into the Strang Institute’s files from early on in the Ellie on Planet X Program. Here’s a diagram of Ellie’s parts and pieces. You’ll notice she looks a little different here – that’s because this drawing was done before her design was finalized by the Institute’s engineers. So if you were wondering where her Thermal Emission Spectrometer was, now you know!