A couple weeks ago we visited the Johnson Space Center near Houston. As well as procuring Space Shuttle Duckies for the nephews, we toured the sprawling, and still operational NASA facility.
It was thrilling to visit Mission Control, still as it was during the Apollo missions back in the 1960's and early 70's.
I sat at the mission director's desk and marveled at the technology that helped men to safely make the round-trip to the moon. If you look carefully at the above picture you will see three pneumatic tube canisters (end on) and a rotary phone dial built into the console. Back in the 60's, a few floors below, there was a room full of IBM 360's, and an extraordinary amount of cabling connecting the computers to Mission Control.
We also visited a functioning Mission Control.
The International Space Station is managed from this room; there was not much activity because the astronauts were asleep at the time.
One day I'll explain rotary phones, pneumatic tubes, and moon missions to my little nephews. Until then we can make up stories about duckies in space.