Tuesday, June 30, 2015By:
I’m lucky that I’ve been able to fill my weeks with so many interesting things. In what seems to be becoming a pattern, I started off the week back in Rockville, climbing. I’m getting a little better—I think. I went back on Tuesday, and again on Thursday. I seem to be finding climbers everywhere— I’ve even found some people here at NASA who like to climb.
Wednesday was Connor’s birthday, so we celebrated by starting the day off with a stop at the Bojangles in Union Station. I’d never been there before, but apparently it’s a staple in the South and they sell biscuits and fried chicken, perfect to start off the day. I think Connor has been trying slowly but surely to convert all the interns to a love of it. Also on Wednesday, Max and I finally got to sit down and have lunch with Kendra, which was the first time that I’d actually met her in person—I’ve talked to her on the phone, but she was on maternity leave when I came for orientation and it was lovely to finally talk with her for a while. She came out to Greenbelt and we had sushi out across the street from Goddard. Capping off the day was a baseball game, the Nats against the Braves, which was an exciting one—tied up one to one in the 9th inning, with the Nationals only pulling through with a run in the bottom of the 11th. It was a good food day, too—on top of my Bojangles chicken and my lunchtime sushi, for dinner I had a half smoke from the Ben’s Chili Bowl stand at the stadium.
Friday the Eta Carinae team had another of our conference calls with all the different collaborators, and we actually talked about the products of all the different programs I’d been running, which was exciting. We then took a long goodbye lunch for Ted (who is retiring Tuesday!) with big racks of ribs up in Laurel. I was just starting to settle back in after we’d gotten back, thinking of what work I’d try to do for the afternoon, when some of the team stopped by and asked if I wanted to go with them to look at the NICER hardware for an instrument that will be going up on the ISS, so obviously I followed them out to building 5 to see. It was really interesting to see all the different engineering labs and testing centers that this team was using to consider all the non-intuitive problems they’d have to solve—how to keep the instrument warm during transfer, how to ensure that their array of intensifiers wouldn’t be misaligned due to the absence of gravity. My favorite room was the acoustic testing chamber, where these enormous speakers (the biggest going maybe 30 feet back into the wall) play loud sounds to test the durability of instruments. Seeing all these smart people building such interesting and innovative things has definitely made me wonder if maybe a future in engineering, or some other kind of applied physics, would be good for me.
For now, though, I’m exhausted after such a long week. More later!