National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 2

Team TiTANIC here
Reporting for our duty
one, two, three… HUYGENS!

Monday 6/10

Ah, yes. Monday morning came after a very eventful weekend of festivities. But the summer was just beginning. Driving into work, Kier learned not to wear sunglasses while going through the security gate at NASA. On this day, Team Robot in the Basement (Anthony and Dave), Team Venus (Nathan, Denise and Chris), and Team We Can Read Your Mind (Elizabeth, Nikhil and Kier) began the week by working with each of their mentors. After work, the weekly Review And Preview (RAP) meeting ensued; here, Jacob so beautifully illustrated his ardor for The Lord of the Rings through writing. And then came the team building exercise. Let’s just say Team Space is not easily thwarted: Moon, here we come.

Tuesday 6/11

It was the day that comes after Monday. Tuesday, that is. In the midst of their work, Team Everyone (composed of both Team Space and Team Aero) and other GRC interns were treated to a riveting lecture on advanced propulsion by Dr. Palaszewski. Following work at Glenn, Team Everyone returned home for a lecture given by Dr. Geoffrey Landis on Venus. Sushi and pizza were eaten and Venus was discussed in the state-of-the-art conference room at the hotel. The conference room had spacious seating, ample air conditioning, and a perfectly lit projector, and was definitely not a repurposed hotel suite. Directly following the lecture, a large group of RAs enjoyed an intense game of Ultimate in the Metroparks. In preparation for the deadline to order parts according to TiTANIC’s all-knowing Gantt Chart, Team Prototype began research on parts for the structure and the electronics. Of principal interest was a fish finder instrument that could be attached to the underbelly of the prototype. Meanwhile, Team Analysis started compiling their textbook, addressing and developing every question or theory ever presented about Saturn’s moon, Titan.

Wednesday 6/12

The morning went like any other: research time in the labs. However, at 9:16 am, Jacob surprised the interns by announcing the first WIKI RACE of the summer. After many clicks, dead ends, curses and a valiant effort by everyone, Anthony emerged victorious at 10:00 am by finding a short connection between the Space Academy and the E3 conference. After work, Nikhil, Kier and an incredibly awesome labmate went to view the “Captain America” filming in downtown Cleveland. It is worth noting that the academites were well equipped for this journey after the scavenger hunt from the previous weekend. They were in luck – even though it was raining and they were late, they saw a scene, were asked to become extras for a later part of the filming, talked with the actors and actresses in their tent, and basically hung out with Captain America. They returned to the hotel and totally did not brag about their day. Afterword, Team TiTANIC met for a group meeting to discuss building materials and background research.

Thursday 6/13

On this day, the Space Academy conquered gravity, observing an experiment at the largest Microgravity facility in the world – the NASA Zero-G facility. For Team Venus, however, the fun did not end there. They met Dr. Mike Krosowski and discovered MADI, his submarine. He invited Team TiTANIC to design an instrument payload for some summer tests. Team Venus then performed official business with a 3D printer. However, not as gracious and humble as Team Captain America, Team Venus did totally brag about their day. After work, Jacob presented Team Space with their business cards, while stressing how important it is to not play games (such as sneaking them into each other’s pockets) with the cards. During the evening group meeting, Team TiTANIC reviewed its weekly progress. Team Analysis consolidated their research and got a very premature head start on the paper, while Team Prototype finalized a parts list. Finally, Team Space kindly informed Denise (who had never had the joy of going camping) about all the potential dangers of a camping trip. She took the news of almost certain death as bravely as one could expect.

Friday 6/14

A great day filled with driving, robots, driving robots, car trouble, salty language, camping, tenting, campfires and s’mores. Team Camping (Team Space and the surprisingly cool Team Aero) stuffed themselves into 4 cars and headed to work, where they spent a most productive 1.5 hours before driving off into the sunrise. First on the agenda was a trip to Astrobotic Technology, Inc. They toured their facility, saw a Lunar Lander Prototype, and heard presentations from, and networked with, the company leaders. Next on the agenda was a tour of several robotics labs at Carnegie Mellon University, where Team Robotics (David, Anthony, and Nikhil) wished they could spend the rest of the day (and the week). Team Camping saw one of CMU’s entries to the DARPA Grand Challenge, an automated plant grower, ballbot – a robot that balances on a single ball, and Astrobotic’s Red Rover. While driving out of Pittsburgh, Team Elizabeth’s Car learned about both Pittsburgh’s terrible drivers, and Team Jacob’s Car learned to not trust a Garmin. Upon reaching the campsite – Tall Oaks – Team Camping set up their tents. Team Girls won the tent pitching race, which had nothing to do with them receiving help from Team Boys. The evening was spent talking around the campfire and eating s’mores, during which Team Camping discovered Elizabeth’s insatiable love for chocolate. The night was cold, and Team Camping made great use of all the supplies that Lommy (Jacob) collected.

Saturday 6/15

Far over the misty mountains cold.
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
We must awake, for caving’s sake.
To find adventures untold

The water was roaring on the height.
The stars shined in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread.
The sparklers like NASA blazed with light.

The day we were waiting for was finally here. It looked like hashbrowns was back on the menu. Dave exemplified his expert cooking skills by effortlessly cracking eggs with one hand and cooking bacon with another. After the fancy breakfast, Team Caving (Team Camping minus Kyle, who was unfortunately too ill to participate) went to Laurel Caverns to delve deep, but hopefully, not so deep as to wake up the Balrog of Morgoth. Fears were broken and great memories were forged in the mountain. Denise, well on her way to being an expert camper, went headfirst into every single difficult pass whilst caving. After the caving experience, Team Caving returned to the campsite, where Team Space ate delicious sandwiches, apples, and chips. David, a secret history buff, traveled to Fort Necessity, site of George Washington’s first battle and only surrender.

Once their bellies were sufficiently sated, Team Hiking and Team Lake went to some afternoon activities. Team Hiking saw a well deserved gorgeous view of the mountains and then went to enjoy some perfectly smooth natural waterslides. It was here, in the abyss of the river, that Chris uncovered the staff of Gandalf the Grey. Kier stole it from him in order to yell “You shall not pass!” as an added precaution against the aforementioned Balrog. Anthony stayed behind to hold down the fort while the rest of Team Camping went to Ohiopyle national park. It is a good thing he did; not only did Anthony repel bandits from the camp, he single-handedly defeated and skinned two bears, staving off the near-certain death. These pelts are now displayed in his living room.

After the Teams rendezvous back at the campsite, we had dinner. In what all hailed as the best meal they have ever eaten, Team Dinner (Nikhil, Kier and Elizabeth) made quesadillas, hot dogs and burgers. Nikhil was especially adept at flipping the quesadillas without destroying them. Following dinner, a night-time capture the flag game was organized. Braving injuries and fatigue, Team Capture the Flag played well into the night. Around the campfire, Nathan shared with everyone his beautiful voice and guitar skills, as well as his love for Chicago. Late that night, Team Camping had great fun designing NASA’s next logo by using sparklers, cell phones, and long-exposure cameras. They spent more time doing so than anyone would care to admit.

Sunday 6/16

Rain pounded on Team Camping throughout the night and into the morning; Jacob and Elizabeth’s soaked clothes outside were evidence enough of that. As a demonstration of their camping abilities and love of delicious food, Team Camping decided to unleash their inner caveman and cook over the fire instead of the fancy grills. This had nothing to do with the fact that all three propane tanks ran out and the grills were unusable. Jacob proved his commitment as a LOM by burning his hand so that the unburnt, tasty eggs would not become burnt, nasty eggs. While he failed, his scar remains to this day. While the supplies were being packed up, Elizabeth rushed around in a violent and uncontrollable manner looking for the remaining chocolate bars (picture a baby deer on a rampage) and Chris ate a succulent and nutritious banana. The four cars departed the campground and headed back for home, sweet Cleveland. Team Jacob’s Car made sure to not stop in Pittsburgh for fear of death by detours. The afternoon consisted of laundry, naps, trips to Walmart, and more laundry. The evening consisted of some relaxation and early bedtimes (hopefully). Elizabeth continued her quest for the missing chocolate.