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At first sight it looks like a mundane desk, the kind most kids spend hours completing their homework on. But flip open the top white cover and you will discover a mission control center that even NASA scientists would be proud to own. What's even more amazing is that this intricate creation is the work of a dad who understands that kids need something to look forward to, after grinding through hours of math, science and whatever else their teachers decide to assign.
Built by Raleigh, North Carolina super-dad Jeff Highsmith aka 'tinkerer extraordinaire', the mission control desk which spends its days tucked away under his son's loft bed, is fitted with 500 LED lights, an iPad display panel, as well as, a panel of fully functioning knobs and switches. In addition, it also features a world atlas that tracks the route of the spacecraft and another panel that makes it all come alive, thanks to the embedded videos and audio clips from previous missions including Apollo 11, the first and only manned flight to land on the moon.
Each evening, after Jeff's two sons who share the fun desk, are done with their homework, they take turns in donning the headphones and hooking up the microphone. Then just like real NASA scientists, they perform a launch sequence checklist, which includes making sure that the 'spaceship' oxygen and hydrogen levels meet the levels required for astronauts.
Since the desk is wired and programmed, all the knobs light up and even make sounds similar to the real mission control center, since those are the recordings Jeff has downloaded on to the player. Fully realizing that day after day of the same thing can get boring, the super dad has added surprise elements like secret triggers and mission mishaps that keep the young scientists on their toes! When it's time for bed, the boys simply hit the abort mission button and power down the control tower.
Jeff who was inspired to create this desk after a family trip to Florida's Kennedy Space Center last summer, began by thoroughly researching the US Space Agency's Apollo Mission Control Center. Even then it was not easy - It took Jeff two months of hard work, but the end result was well worth it. And, this incredible dad is not done yet. He is now building a companion spacecraft that will be connected to the mission control center with an audio and video feedback so that one of the boys can pretend to be an astronaut that is communicating with the scientists on earth - Pretty Cool!
Resources: today.com, dailymail.co.uk,mumodernmet.com