Daily report: The first day in Washington D.C.

By Mark Oude Veldhuis

Monday the 4th of October 2010. The first day in Washington, D.C.. Unfortunately the day started of rainy and the planned White House tour unfortunately was canceled, since they didn't take groups that were larger than five people apparently. So in the morning, after some of us got breakfast at the next-door Quality Inn hotel, we got in the bus and got to Washington Mall. There we were dropped of at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. We walked around in the museum for a while where a lot of nice exhibitions were placed. Some were aimed at kids, of course, and almost everything was impressive to see. After that it was time to either grab breakfast or lunch, and get your picture with the Capital Building.

In the afternoon we went to the National Crash Analysis Center, or NCAC, a division of the George Washington University. The director of the center welcomed us and gave a presentation about what they do. The NCAC performs research regarding crash simulations for vehicles. At the center they reverse engineer the car, which means scanning the entire car and taking a part piece by piece, scanning every part. With all the scan data they create a three dimensional image of the car and crash simulations can be performed. Scanning the car takes about nine to ten months. Running a simulation used to take almost a week, but using new ways of computing such as supercomputers, it only takes about ten hours. The analysis center is also researching poles that are designed to stop terrorist vehicles trying to drive into important buildings such as the White House.

The company visit ended earlier than expected. That's why after wards we went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, another air and space museum that belongs to the Smithsonian we went to in the morning. In the center were a lot of old planes to see, including a concorde, space shuttle and early models from the Wright brothers.

Afterwards the bus drove us back to the Union Station in Washington D.C., where some people got out and explored Washington a little more by foot and to eat at a nice restaurant somewhere. Others chose to get back to the hotel and found a place to buy some beer and ordered some pizza. Everyone had a great first night in Washington D.C.


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