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Spaced Out!

Epcot's Mission:SPACE offers out-of-this-world experience!

By

Mission: SPACE Capsule
Compliments of Walt Disney Company
As I stare at the gantry that rises high above us, the countdown begins. 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Lift Off! As the engines roar to life, my heart pounds. There is no turning back now. I scan the controls and see no "abort mission" button. Our ship begins to shake and suddenly, as billows of white exhaust envelop us, I begin to feel the gravitational pull upon my body so strongly that I'm forced to ignore the chatter of mission controls' CapCom.

We clear the atmosphere and leave the gravitational pull of Earth. I begin concentrating on what I need to do as "navigator" to make this mission a success. The other three crew members — a commander (Theresa Johnston, About's Orlando Guide), a pilot, and an engineer — that share the assigned mission are busy with their own tasks when the rockets fire again. I am still finding it difficult to listen to the instructions of CapCom. Has he issued an order that I haven't comprehended? Will I be the one to cause the mission to fail? No, I hear him now. I am to push the button that will sling us around the moon and set our course for our destination — Mars. I push the button and I am again forced against the back of my seat.

Finally, we seem to be on course and on our way. The view is breathtaking and I am mesmerized. But, just as I begin to relax and enjoy the experience, I am drawn back into reality with warning lights blinking and sirens blasting. My mind races. What could be wrong? A quick glance and I have the answer — asteroids! Our ship is being bombarded by huge asteroids! Somehow we managed to avoid certain disaster, but I have a sudden longing to place my two feet back on Earth. I no longer want to explore the unknown. I want to go home! Of course, that won't be possible until we successfully complete our mission which is to land safely on Mars. That turns out not to be an easy task.

Our navigation system seems to have gone awry and we are streaking toward an unfamiliar jagged landscape. It takes the entire crew pulling up hard on our joy sticks to clear a range of mountains. Our ship takes an unexpected dive and we are speeding along a deep cavern — following CapCom's terse instructions to push our joy sticks first right and then left. As our ship comes to what seemingly is a safe stop, we are met by yet another emergency that has us sitting on the edge of our seats... literally.

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