Friday, June 26, 2009

The "Official" Story of how Camilla Corona and Little SDO became such Good Friends...

Written in June 2009...

To understand the unlikely friendship between Camilla, the rubber chicken and Little SDO, the NASA spacecraft, we must go back some years and examine Camilla’s story. Camilla, the rubber chicken is the child of a chicken and an extra-terrestrial visitor (whose name is being concealed for legal and safety issues). They met during an audition for a brand new kind of television show that brought different, bizarre puppet creatures together in a theater-like setting. Both of them got parts in that show, partially due to their obvious chemistry.

Camilla’s parents became a celebrity couple on that famous 70s puppet variety show (we have also omitted this title for legal reasons and in order not to support any single puppet variety show out there). Unfortunately the stress of being a celebrity couple was too much for them. They had to juggle a relationship, careers, issues with co-workers (mostly from a certain lady pig that made life exceedingly difficult on the set), and a rubber chicken child. They had a long talk and came to a difficult decision:

One day they took little Camilla, who at the time was merely a little rubber chick, to the circus. They left Camilla in the stands with the promise of some funnel cake and a big foam hat, but they never returned…

Feeling sorry for this poor abandoned fowl, the Circus Director and the carnies took Camilla in and decided to raise her as their own. In the go-go world of traveling circuses, no one eats and sleeps for free, so they put Camilla to work in the concession stand. Although after a close encounter with an overzealous cook of the Nordic variety, it was deemed that concessions was not the right field for young Camilla. Plus, Camilla made always very funny noises on “Fried Chicken Wednesdays”…

At the circus Camilla tried her hand at many different jobs but really found her home in working with the big top acts. She proved to be a natural at coming up with new acrobatic routines, up high in the air under the dome of the circus tent. Camilla seemed to have an innate ability to understand the physics and the law of gravity and have the acrobats land safely after every dazzling trick. This was very appreciated since this particular circus had a nasty habit of having to hire new acrobats after nearly every show. It also helped that her neck was the most bendable neck of anyone working in the circus industry.

As it turned out, this was not Camilla’s only talent. Being part animal herself, she proved skilled in animal husbandry and soon the circus was brimming with new and unusual baby animals. She also helped with modeling for merchandise items, and the “rubber chicken” became one of the top selling products, and Camilla’s likeness became recognized worldwide, even if they did not know her by name.

Despite the wonderful things she did for the circus, Camilla’s life was not wonderful. The Ringmaster (complete with a top hat, cape, and sinister mustache) was not a very nice man. He told Camilla that people would be afraid if they were to ever meet a walking talking rubber chicken! And so when the public was around, Camilla would go still and pretend to be one of the fake rubber chickens all the parents had to buy for their kids. Camilla, na├»ve as she was, believed the ringmaster, because, for all his cruelty, he had provided her with a home, and had been like a father to her. Who was she to question him?

For many years Camilla obeyed the ringmaster. Until one day, by some twist of fate, she was lending a beak in the merchandising booth. The salesman had been out late the night before and didn’t quite have his wits about him that morning. When a little boy named Paul came up to purchase a rubber chicken, he got more than he bargained for. He brought home Camilla.

When the little boy named Paul got Camilla home and discovered she was more than your average yellow rubber chicken, he and his father had a long talk with her. They discovered two things; that Camilla should never go back to the circus, and that she was, hands down, the smartest rubber gallus domesticus they had ever met. Paul’s father happened to work for NASA where he had been involved in many important missions. Being a smart guy (as most NASA employees are, as well as some of their subcontractors too) he decided to bring her to work.

Camilla joined the Heliophysics (solar physics) team, and made many friends there. She was particularly good at sensing when the team needed a break. Down the halls you could hear a squak and all the scientists and engineers would rest and recoup with Camilla.

One day while hanging out at NASA’s 
Goddard Space FlightCenter, she spotted plans for a new satellite: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), going by the name Little SDO. Maybe it was her propensity for science and new things, or maybe it was her alien ancestry that made her so fascinated with Little SDO. No one knows, but she was transfixed.

As plans for Little SDO moved forward, Camilla felt more and more maternal toward the budding new satellite. When construction began on Little SDO, she was there. She was there for all Little SDO’s big tests, and trials. During Spin Test, Camilla rode the spin table with Little SDO and was seen wobbling down the halls of Goddard Space Flight center for days. Now that Little SDO is all grown up and getting ready to launch, their relationship has shifted from maternal, to a true friendship.

Camilla enjoys Little SDO’s shiny personality, his desire to understand Space Weather in more detail, and the fact that Little SDO can keep all of his eyes on the Sun for days at the time without even blinking. He does have 6 eyes on 3 different instruments, which at first made Camilla feel weird. But now Camilla feels so at ease with the fact that Little’s camera are top of the line and impressed that they are ten times more detailed than normal High Definition TV. Once Little SDO launches, he will spend all of his time looking at the sun, which is just fine with Camilla since he won’t have time to look for a new BFF. In just a few weeks Camilla will accompany Little SDO on a road trip down to 
Kennedy Space Center and she is excited to ride with him in a beautiful-white-air-conditioned -1st-class-shipping container. Little SDO and Camilla will enjoy some more time together before an Atlas V rocket will sadly part them, currently scheduled for December 4th, 2009.