A few weeks ago, I was in the Washington DC area to visit some Aerohive customers and talk about to them about Wi-Fi network architecture. However, I’d be lying if I told you that the highlight of my trip was anything other than the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.
A few thoughts:
- To all Aerohive customers, I apologize. No, you are not as cool as being able to see the re-entry scorch marks on the Apollo 11 command module. Don’t even try.
- The phrase “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) really takes on a new resonance when you are looking at spacecraft. Astronauts had to bring everything, even the air they were breathing.
The visit had special resonance for me because I have always wanted to be an astronaut. I’ve also wanted to be a pilot from the first time I can remember flying, which is a more achievable goal, especially now that I am probably too old to enter the astronaut corps. (Oddly, there is a Matthew Gast who worked for NASA, but is as far as I know unrelated.)
The National Air and Space Museum also has a lunar lander on display. In some ways, it’s my favorite spacecraft ever built, largely because it’s really designed for only for operation in space. No compromises needed to be made for atmospheric operation. It’s quite funny to think that the fragile lunar module was pushed to the moon by the rest of the spaceship, but the vacuum in space didn’t stress the structure at all. Here’s a photo of the Apollo 11 lunar module just after separation in lunar orbit, ready to take Armstrong and Aldrin down to the surface:
On Apollo 11, it was enough of an accomplishment to just set foot on the moon, kind of like how a 2003-era wireless LAN only needed to get people e-mail and web access in conference rooms. Later moon missions required much more than spaceships, and used one of the most fun vehicles ever, the lunar rover; the rover enabled astronauts to go farther away from the landing site and investigate much more of the moon’s surface.
Likewise, today’s wireless LANs need to do more than just e-mail, and that’s reflected in the devices that users bring. Although it’s a challenge to allow staff to bring their own devices, it’s nothing like having to bring your own car to the moon!