Monday started off as usual with the Academites dispersing to their various work stations to begin another week. Following lunch, they attended a particularly interesting Innovation Forum by Dr. Geoffrey Landis, in which he discussed NIAC and some of the various far-out-yet-possibly-feasible concepts proposed such as bug-mobiles on Mars and space elevators. While some of the concepts’ practicality is debatable, the ideas were cool and we’d all, somewhere in our heart of hearts, like to see a 40,000 km tall space elevator built on Earth, even if it’s just to say we did it. The evening brought group collaboration on the project and the RAP session, in which plans of the upcoming tours and trip to Niagara Falls was discussed.
Yet another Innovation Forum! This last one was an riveting lecture by Dr. Isaiah Blankson about MHD-controlled turbojet engines for hypersonic flight. In the evening, Team Prototype worked on the propulsion block, lovingly named “Larry” for no particular reason.
Wednesday was a much-needed and largely uninterrupted day in the lab for most. After work, the Academites heard a presentation from Dr. Meng-Sing Liou, LOM Kyle’s former mentor, about computational fluid dynamics and genetic algorithms. Team Space also received their t-shirts – gotta love that new shirt smell! – and stickers much to the delight of all. Kier and Elizabeth finally tested Larry – on the ground, in the sink, and finally in the bathtub where he swam around happily for a few minutes. Yay!
Excitement was running high amongst the interns in anticipation of the trip to Plum Brook Station! The interns departed at 9 for the bus ride there to tour the facilities, including the world’s largest thermo-vac chamber and an awesome acoustics room. The most exciting part of the tour was seeing the vacuum chamber where the opening scene of “The Avengers” was filmed, and a group of Team Space (Anthony, Kier, Nikhil, Chris, occasionally Elizabeth and Rebecca) decided to watch the movie that evening in remembrance of the tour they’d had that day. Once back to work, teams scrambled to compile their 3-slide presentations due to Dr. Kankam the next day.
Friday morning started on a positive note: Team Academies got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes before driving off to Parker Hannifin’s Wheel and Brake Division. Upon reaching, the Academites were treated with a great breakfast. We heard a presentation on the Parker Hannifin Wheel and Brake Division’s work and business model, after which Dr. Kankam gave a thorough presentation on the Academies. Team Academies then listened to one last presentation on the division’s brakes and testing process. Finally, they toured the production floor and were provided another great meal. Needless to say, the Parker Hannifin trip was deemed a success.
The Academites then returned to Glenn to their day job … wait, no, false alarm. They clustered together in a conference room where Dr. Kankam did a thorough review of everyone’s presentation to the Center Director, scheduled for Tuesday. Finally, after a long and productive meeting, Team Niagara (Team Space minus Denise, who had been to the Falls over July 4th) started their drive to Niagara Falls for the weekend. Team Nathan’s car (Nathan, Dave, Nikhil and Elizabeth), especially, had a safe and quick drive. After a quick evaluation that their first restaurant choice was most likely not conducive to their health and safety, being forgotten at their second restaurant choice, and not finding their third restaurant choice, they finally settled for the great food and customer service at McDonald’s. After finally arriving a couple of hours behind schedule, Team Nathan’s-car once again got to experience Jake’s wonderful navigation and direction-giving skills. They also saw their first view of the falls at night (a view they would recommend to everyone, sincerely).
Team Jake’s car had a much smoother drive filled with puzzles and fun. Upon reaching Niagara at a reasonable time, they met other NASA interns (as well as a member of Team Aero) who were also on their own Niagara journey. There, they saw a light show and fireworks near the American Falls.
Finally Team Niagara met at the campground, set up their tents, and had a long deserved sleep.
Meanwhile, Denise was enjoying a relaxing and productive evening with some members of Team Aero.
After waking up and getting ready, Team Space made their way to their first Canadian experience, at Tim Hortons. There, Dave put on his Navy hat and got in a fight with over 20 Air Force guys … and won, while everyone else desperately charged their electronic devices. From there, they headed to Niagara Falls (Goat Island) as a group. They saw the Horseshoe Falls, took photos at the Nikola Tesla memorial, and walked over to the American Falls. Team DavAnthoNikhil got some ice-cream and walked over to Canada. There, they beelined their way to the Maid of the Mist tour, which is definitely worth it for anyone wondering (no sarcasm), and then Dave led the group to the Casino. There, Dave enjoyed an amazing grand buffet of steak, roast beef, shrimp, lobster, and chocolate cake, while Anthony and Nikhil saved their wallets and their figures and ate at the food court. While returning to the good ol’ USA, they braved hurricane level rain/wind and a ridiculous Canadian tax.
Team Space-minus-Team DavAnthoNikhil, meanwhile, disappointed that they weren’t cool enough to join Team DavAnthoNikhil, walked around a little while and met with the other NASA interns. Team Canada2 (Kier, Nathan, and Jacob) left the group to follow Team Canada1 (also known as Team DavAnthoNikhil) to Canada. In Canada, they saw a great view of the Horseshoe Falls and team Canada2 saw the street of fun. The Canada teams were stopped by US customs officers until the interns promised them seats on the first mission to Mars.
Team Leftovers (Elizabeth and Chris, with the other interns) went to Maid of the Mist and got soaked on the way back. They then went to the observation deck, ate ice cream, and waited for Teams Canada1-and-2.
After a rendezvous at the food court, Team Nathan’s car was driven back early. Nathan and Dave once again braved the fierce winds to retrieve the car. Luckily, it was an uneventful drive back after they escaped the horrendous traffic at the falls.
Team Jake’s car passengers, not having finished with their adventure, went on another Tour, Cave of the Winds, along with the other NASA interns, and were also soaked by the American Falls.
Meanwhile on this Saturday, Denise hung out at local coffee joint, while she worked on Team Venus’s project and Skyped with her boyfriend.
In the evening, Team Movie Watchers very vigorously watched “V for Vendetta” and finally, at some point, called it a night.