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NASA Ames Research Center
Open House 1997


At NASA Ames Research Center's first-ever Open House on September 20, 1997, more than 200,000 visitors came to Ames Moffett Field to learn about NASA technology. As a precautionary measure, the Emergency Operations Center was activated along with Emergency Services personnel, including DART. As it turned out, it was extremely fortuitous that this was done. The Open House Planning Committee anticipated a crowd of 50,000. By 1:30pm the crowd exceed 200,000. There was a several mile traffic back up in both directions on Highway 101 of people wanting to attend the open house. At that point the Director of the EOC decided to close Moffett Field to all incoming traffic except for those on government business.

The Open House was considered a major success for NASA Ames Research Center even though it proved to be a bit of a nightmare for the Ames Emergency Services community. By 1:30pm the minor medical emergencies, fender benders, and other incidents that are typical of extremely large and mobile crowds, began to overwhelm the available resources.

The DART Rescue Unit demonstrated high angle rope rescue operations in Hangar 1. DART HazMat also provided demonstrations.

The Open House focused on partnerships with NASA among businesses, aerospace, academe, community organizations and education. Activities at the Open House included watching robotics competitions, observing a Mars rover demonstration, taking a virtual trip across the Martian surface, viewing Mars and lunar rocks, and learning about our next mission to the Moon with Lunar Prospector, among other things.

Guests also visited many important and historic facilities, including the world's largest wind tunnel, one of the world's most sophisticated flight simulators, and the premier NASA supercomputing facility in the country. NASA's High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program interacted with guests by sharing its goals and accomplishments. Its exhibits featured side-by-side demonstrations and large graphic displays depicting major activities in Computational Aero Sciences, Earth and Space Science, NASA Research, and Education Network and Learning Technology Project.

The Resident Agencies at Moffett Field, the U.S. Space Camp California, the Ames staff, and the local Chambers of Commerce worked cooperatively on the event.

FEMA and CaTF-3 also participated in the Open House by providing displays and personnel to staff the displays. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's displays depicted the role that FEMA plays in disaster preparation, response, and recovery.

Ray Williams, Acting FEMA Region IX Regional Director, said, "Our partnership with NASA was valuable during the 1991 Oakland Firestorm, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and the floods of 1997."

The FEMA exhibit featured a display on the partnership between NASA and FEMA in developing mitigation education and marketing materials. FEMA partnered with NASA's Video Production Group to document flood mitigation success stories following the January 1997 California Winter Floods. This video was developed to brief Vice President Al Gore and FEMA Director James Lee Witt during their site visit to the flood areas in January of 1997. Additionally, the video was used to inform members of Congress on the value of mitigation. NASA and FEMA are collaborating in the documentation of mitigation successes in communities around the country, and the Territory of American Samoa, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, covered by Region IX's jurisdiction.

NASA's partnership role was also highlighted in the exhibit with fly over photographs documenting the disaster areas of the Oakland Hills fire, the Malibu fires and flooding in Marysville. The public also got a "hands on" look at emergency and preparedness information found on the FEMA web server.

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Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

Emergency Operations Center Logistics Support. (14,613 bytes) Emergency Operations Center Communications Support - HAM Operators. (15,364 bytes) Emergency Operations Center Security Law Enforcement - Dispatch. (15,188 bytes) Emergency Operations Center Fire Support. (16,850 bytes)  

Open House Site

View of Hangar one before crowd arrived. (12,131 bytes) 80X120 Wind Tunnel open to the public. (24,987 bytes) On site parking with in the first few minutes. (9,814 bytes) Concessions for Open House. (21,277 bytes) 30-minutes into the open house. (17,209 bytes)
30-minutes into the open house. (16,362 bytes) Stealth Simulator. (23,060 bytes) Live Music. (16,972 bytes) It was a hot day. Visitors found shade. (15,275 bytes)  

Hanger 1 Exhibits

View looking into Hangar 1. (15,790 bytes)
California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing in Hangar 1. (25,616 bytes) California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing demonstrating patient care. (27,041 bytes) Astrobiology display in Hangar 1. (25,630 bytes) View of crowd in Hangar 1. (19,095 bytes)
Entrance to Hangar 1. (20,843 bytes)        

California Task Force 3 (CaTF-3) Exhibits

California Task Force-3 Display. (17,556 bytes) California Task Forse-3 Display - hovercraft. (25,083 bytes)      

Disaster Assistance & Rescue Team (DART) Exhibits

DART display in Hangar 1. (25,149 bytes) Emergency Communications Vehicle and DART Mobile Command Post. (16,100 bytes) DART performing Rescue demonstrations in Hangar 1. (22,054 bytes) DART performing Rescue demonstrations in Hangar 1. (23,694 bytes) DART display and T-shirt sales. (23,589 bytes)

DART Hazardous Materials Response Team (HazMat) Exhibits

DART HazMat display. (20,003 bytes) DART Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle. (22,777 bytes) DART Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle. (22,219 bytes) DART Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle. (18,792 bytes) DART HazMat display. (20,341 bytes)
DART Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle. (16,625 bytes)        

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