National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 2

Monday, June 14:

The week started off on a rather depressing note for the men of GRC Academy:  the women won the photo scavenger hunt – noooooo!!  Well, congrats to them, they earned it.  Their creative poses and the men’s unwillingness to tread anywhere near NASA property that day made the difference. 

Anyway, the day proceeded as usual.  Once we got back from work, the Glennterns frantically tried to throw together their presentation for Tuesday.  Monday’s rap session was crazy as ever with lots of jokes and lots of Ron laughing and shaking his head.  Chelsey and Kylee set the bar pretty high with a 5 page, very humorous weekly summary.  Following the rap session, the finishing touches were added to our presentation amongst more ridiculous conversation amongst the Academites/Glennterns/whatever.  A special thanks is extended to Robyn for her attention to detail, grammar and aesthics, as this helped create our very professional looking power point slides.  Thank you to Chelsey for photoshopping (is this a word?) a cat out of one the pictures we used in our presentation.

On another note:  One Academite was drafted on a mysterious mission to a top secret research facility in the forbidden hills of Pitts and burgers. Howard was able to complete the mission successfully but at the cost of missing his rendezvous point with the other academites later that evening. However, he was debriefed for the critical mission that was to occur the next day.

Tuesday, June 15:

The Historical archives (also known as a “profile book”) was completed today, displaying the valor and monumental accomplishments previously obtained by the Academites. This document sparked conversation about the stunning action shots of the Academites, each “special” in its own way.

That afternoon a discussion on NASA’s Return to Flight after the tragic Columbia accident. The speaker was quite engaging (only one Academite was caught nodding and drooling) and described how the space shuttle functioned, described the investigation that followed the accident, and detailed the steps taken to improve the space program which corrected some critical mistakes and served to ultimately allow NASA to successfully begin flying missions again. After the talk the floor opened up for questions during which one particularly inquisitive individual held the entire group hostage as he fired question after question at the speaker.

Upon gaining their freedom from the dreaded Professor Q., the Academites made the final preparations for their first presentation with Dr. Kankam. The time finally came and the Academites put on a breath-taking presentation of their new innovation the MASE that would shatter any obstacles in NASA’s exploration future. Three presenters detailed the outline for this plan while their audience stared with blank almost menacing expressions on their faces. As the Academites prepared for the worse, they were relieved to hear that despite the troll-like expressions, their project was approved!! Now on to phase two of project MASE!!

Wednesday, June 16:

The Academites arose early Wednesday morning only to realize that one of their number had departed on a solo quest for glory. Leaving under the cover of night Nathan set out for a new adventure. Unfortunately his airship experienced technical difficulties and resulted in him being stranded in an unknown port for hours……Elsewhere, the breakfast discussion of the other Academites centered around the upcoming thrilling documentary “Tar Wars”  (that Robyn informed us about).  During this spirited conversation a centipede slowly creeps by on the floor……I wonder what the cafeteria will be serving for lunch?  Exhausted by the arduous presentation from the day before, the Academites returned to their beloved Homestead studios and slept the rest of the day away.

Thursday, June 17:

Busy, busy day today (I never could get the hang of Thursdays):

As usual, the Academites all met for breakfast.  Ryan decided to take a break from the pancakes today and get eggs instead.  We learned from CNN that there is more oil in the gulf today than the there was yesterday which, coincidentally, is the same lesson that we have learned for the past 50 or so days.  We also learned about the dangers of vuvuzelas, a trumpet-like South African instrument which is frequently played at by fans at the World Cup soccer events.  Apparently, these things can generate the noise equivalent to that of a jet airliner from 30 feet away – loud!

Our normal daily routine was broken by a Faculty/Student reception at 4 PM, which was apparently some kind of icebreaker event for the all the interns at Glenn.  However, it appeared to be rather ineffective, as the majority of students stuck together in their own little clicks that they had formed the previous week, though we all did have the privilege of meeting Pearce, a very outgoing and humorous intern.  Through the icebreakers, we learned that most of the people there would choose to have an amphibious airplane and fuel or their IPod and headphones if they were stranded on a desert island and could choose to have only two items with them. 

At 7:00, we had the privilege of listening to and getting advice from one of Glenn’s program managers, Vince Bilardo.  He spoke much about NASA politics, its future and his experience, leaving the Glennturns very inspired – see Robyn’s write up for more details. 

After the guest speaker, we had our group meeting for our MASE project.  As usual, the meeting consisted of 50 % work, and 150 % wisecracks from the group – highlights of the meeting are in today’s quoted quotables section.  During this meeting, we took time to explore the conference room, and discovered FREE LAUNDRY.  Never in the history of the GRC has anyone ever been so excited as Robyn was about free laundry, who was laughing and cheering with uncontrollable glee.

After the meeting, Ron, Howard, Kylee, Chelsey, Adam, and Ryan all went to watch the final game of the NBA finals at Chilli’s.  Most everyone got a like snack and a sprite or water to drink.  Ryan decided to get another burger and cheesecake, as he will probably have far fewer of these once he becomes an astronaut.  Kylee brought stuff to read for the project for her math degree, though one wonders how much she got done.  She explained what her project was, but all I can recall was that it something to do with statistics, plates, data-processing and Guassian curve fits. Anyway, the Celtics started off with a strong lead over the Lakers, but lost steam as the game progressed.  The Lakers eventually gained a narrow lead at the games end, and the Celtics blew their chance to tie it and go into overtime in the game’s final moments.

Last but not least, we heard that Nathan made it to his microgravity competition in less than 2 pieces and more than 0, which is a good thing.

Friday, June 18:

The Academites again woke up early in the morning, forced down their rations of gruel at the cafeteria, and listened to the never-ending updates about the oil spill in the gulf. It is truly remarkable how many different ways CNN can say the same thing (BP screwed up) over and over again. The Academites went off to work with a happy almost hysterical greeting of “HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!” from one of the Cafeteria Nutritional Facilitators.

The Academites completed Friday’s work and returned back to homestead suites to prepare for their glorious weekend. About half of them decided to kick things off by grilling in the local park. The set forth to retrieve food from a nearby grocery store and on their way heard the frenzied debate on the street as one lady harasses a pair of teenagers.

“Why are you standing there, there is a pizza restaurant at like every corner!!”

“Our pizza is better!!”….(and getting paid $10 per hour to stand in the sun holding signs proves it!!)

The Academites continue on to retrieve their provisions and proceed to the park only to realize that they had forgotten to procure an incendiary device. After efforts to light paper with a cigarette lighter failed, Ron found a pack of matches in his faithful Utili-truck. (Little does he know that this truck has many more supplies and secrets that even he does not know about)…..(Fordy second lieutenant of the autobots is always prepared!!)

The group prepares their food and Ron rapidly consumes ½ lb of ground beef in minutes. The group decides to play spades and soon realize that the fastest way to win a 5-person game is to just go nil every time. After being eaten alive by mosquitoes, the Academites head home to rest for the next day.

Saturday, June 19:

PAINTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!! Nothing says fun like pelting your friends with high speed packets of paint.  And that is exactly how the Glennterns had their fun today.  On the way there Shanita assisted our directionally challenged friend Pearce find the post office via cell phone.

Our fearless leader Ron (aka bank robber) delivered an impressive performance today, as he won the first game and was only shot or forced to surrender twice.  Chelsey and Howard (Swing and Things) also played well, though Chelsey expressed frustration over always being picked last.  Ryan (white shirt) was a total noob: he thought it would be wise to venture out into the arena Rambo style.  He quickly discovered that in order for the Rambo technique to even have a snowball’s chance at being effective, three things are required:

a)      more experience
b)      a working knowledge of the battlefield
c)       a marker that actually shoots in the direction your pointing it, or, at the very least, a consistent direction.

Ryan looked rather yellow at the day’s end.  Adam (Old Navy) looked a little red.

After the exhilarating afternoon of shooting each other, some of the Glennterns retired for the evening, whereas Ron, Howard, Kylee, Chelsey, Adam, and Ryan went to the mall to get food, groceries, and, in Ryan’s case, a haircut.

Sunday, June 20:

Today, the future explorers of the universe decided to take their eyes off the sky for a change and learn more about the organisms on their home planet.  After the Academites all gave their the fathers a call to wish them a “Happy Father’s Day,” they all met to congress in the lobby before embarking on a journey of knowledge, excitement and adventure.  In speaking of Father’s Day, Ryan and Ron are apparently beginning to show signs of age, as both were wished a “Happy Father’s Day” by the zoo gate attendees.  Papa Ron was asked point blank if he was a dad or not by some women at Wendy’s he went to later that day.

The drive was not entirely uneventful.  For one, Papa Ryan displayed how California driving was rubbing off on him when he gunned it passed the car on his left as the right lane ended on the I-71.  Nobody died, so the questionably legal maneuver was a success.  After safely exiting the highway, it discovered that roadwork had rendered Papa Ron’s Mapquest directions utterly useless.  Thankfully, signs were provided to help guide us the rest of the way to the zoo, though they did not always point in the correct direction.   I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

It’s funny how commercials of zoos always seem to feature wild, energetic animals in an attempt to stir feelings of adventure in the audience.  In reality, the species “homo sapien” is probably the most active animal at the zoo, which is ironic because it is the only one there that is not on display in an exhibit.  It is estimated this curious biped walks, on average, between 4 to 5 miles per day at the zoo, whereas most of the exhibited creatures are about as active as a content, morbidly obese housecat on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Nonetheless, the Academites enjoyed observing the animals of Earth in their not-so-natural habitats.  Papa Ron apparently took like 80 something videos of the zoo animals, as many of the primates were just too entertaining, not to mention a very belligerent seagull.  In the wolf exhibit, Chelsey managed to take a picture of the rare Papa-Ryan-moose hybrid, a clinically insane animal.  While exploring the fake, indoors rainforest, Chelsey decided that it would be a good idea to create a mid-tree traffic jam by taking a picture of the cute, frequently quotable Kylee kid, a rare sight in a hollow tree with a staircase running up it. 

Following the rainforest, the group decided to call it a day.  Thankfully, the drive home was uneventful.  Upon returning to the hotel, the Academites retreated into their not-so-natural habitats to prepare for week 3.