Saturday kicked off the start of the national Group Project holiday weekend. Festivities included writing… and reading… and working hard to finish our QTAs. Steph, Adam, and Jess multitasked their weekend by working most of the day while watching movies at the same time. Meanwhile in another part of town Jennifer biked to Trader Joe’s to get groceries and then joined in the Group Project festivities. Becca was sort of sleeping for most of the day, but succumbed to peer pressure and also worked on group project.
In the morning, Ashley, Adam, and Kyle went to an African-American gospel church, and it was pretty cool. The rest of the day continued the Group Project workathon. The power and propulsion groups had a crazy-long marathon meeting that was at least 4 hours. We also all missed Bernard who had to go home for a few days, and we finished signing the funny hamster dance card for him. It was hard to sign without having the card sing “dooh da dooh dooh dooh da dooh dooh, dee-ee da dee dee dayy.”
Monday was a busy day- most people went to the State of the Center address where Glenn Center Director Dr. Whitlow talked about the recent accomplishments of Glenn, and where the center is heading in the future. There were motivational movies including the plans for building an airstrip at Plum Brook, which everyone at the talk clapped a lot for because it means exciting developments for Glenn. Then a little later in the day were some special tours for the special Academy kids.
We toured the Propulsions Systems lab, where we got to see cool testing chambers for simulating high atmospheric conditions. (We also got stickers — yay!) After that we toured the Aero Acoustic Lab, but only sort of since we didn’t get to go inside the dome cause they were setting up the “laser-beams” for a test that day.
But we did get to pass around nozzle designs that looked like crowns. After work we had a rap session, and got excited for our trip to Ames (!!!!), and fiiiiiinally watched Gladiator on the projector in the guys’ room (while, of course, working on group project).
The highlight of Tuesday was meeting Dr. Julian Earls, the previous Glenn Center Director. He was a dynamic, inspirational speaker who motivated us to do great things in the future and think about ways to give back to the community. He told us some great stories and shared some math-related puzzles. Ashley took the spotlight for a few minutes as she explained a mathematical proof of how “boyfriend = all evil”:
Boyfriend = time x $
Time = $
$ = (all evil) 1/2
so substituting in… Boyfriend = all evil.
Motivated by the meeting with Dr. Earls, who is an avid runner, Kyle and Becca tried to fit in a run between getting back at 5:30pm and the speaker at 7pm…They almost made it on time for the lunar dust guy (aka James Gaier) but were a few minutes late and had to sit dehydrated and sweating through the whole talk.
The talk was interesting though, and we learned a lot from Mr. Gaier about moon regolith and his goal of transforming one of the huge Plum Brook vacuum chambers that aren’t being used into a facility for testing with lunar dust. It was also Michael’s birthday, so we signed another funny singing card and gave him a small birthday present that we hope he enjoyed ;).
- “A machine that eats dirt and craps solar cells… dirt cheap.” –James Gaier
Today we met with Dr. Jih-Fen Lee, the R&T director. We spent ½ an hour asking her questions about the state of NASA and her career. That afternoon, we got back to Studio Plus and everyone was excited to pack for our flight to California. We had a session with Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides who shared her career stories and encouraged us to go after our own dreams and goals. After our session, Michael shared with us that he could not go to California because of the bacteria that had camped out in his ear for the weekend (a.k.a. doctor’s orders: grounded due to ear infection).
Our flight for California was at 5:30am and we woke up at 3:30am in order to have time to get to the airport. We had two layovers on our way to San Jose, one in Charlotte and the other in Phoenix. There was a gauge that was broken on our plane in Phoenix and as a result we waited on the runway for a little more than an hour. It was very hot and there was no circulating air. In these conditions a passenger sitting one seat in front of me thought it was appropriate to change her baby’s diaper.
I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go. We finally arrived in San Jose and got to the car rental only to find out that Dr. Kankam missed his flight. About 1.5 hours later we finally arrived at Ames and was able to catch the last 20 mins of a presentation, that little did we know we would hear about 3 more times.
Next, we went to onsite golf course where Ames RAs were encouraged to “take the pitchers to the face” so that we could hurry up and go to the “Chinese food barbeque”… DING!!… at building 19. I hope you start to see a reoccurring theme… (hurrying) …DING!!!. After eating the $39 chicken rolls, (fill in the blank: hint it starts with a D and ends with a !!!!) we went around with personal introductions and sharing of various traffic violations. We heard a very informative lecture on different current events in NASA and the aerospace industry.
After the afternoon session or morning session, depends on what time zone you were operating on, we went to the California hills to Jessica Culler’s house that is also known among the Ames RAs as the Mansion.
Today we woke up and went to Ames and went on a few lab tours, one that was related to Thursday’s lecture and one of an imaging satellite that was built from off the shelf components and as a result was much cheaper.
We then went to the gift shop where we played with magnetic vibrating magnetic beans. We thumbed through a few brochures and on one we saw Becca… I mean a sea otter, and decided we would purchase aquarium tickets for Saturday’s trip to Monterey Bay. We left the gift shop and went to have lunch at Google!
Before lunch we went on a brief tour of the Google Campus where we saw everyone in suit and ties and solemn expressions… DING!!!! The atmosphere was very energetic and up beat. Everyone was fascinated by the free food through out the buildings especially the gourmet lunch.
After the adult amusement park known as Google, we went back to NASA and attended another lecture on small scale and nano scale vehicles.
There was some overlap in the topic, but we still found the session interesting and informative. We left Ames and headed back to the “Mansion” but not before stopping at the grocery store to use the rest of the stipend money for the day. After the grocery store, some went out to eat while others went back to work on the group project.
- I just saw me in his lap, and that’s what I expected to see!” –Kyle
–Rebecca Arvanites and Bernard Murphy