Week 7: Karaoke, festivals, and a thunderstorm

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Sunday, July 17, 2022


Nicole Leung

Eric was out of the office this week, so Maryam (my office mate) stood in as my mentor this week! For work, I focused on the mechanical side of things with Tatsat. I modified an existing design of the star camera mount from the PIPER mission, ran finite element analysis (1/4/8g, down/lateral, 10/20 lbs), and presented my work at the weekly mechanical meeting. Tatsat asked me to design another camera mount system for this week. It is a completely new design, but it will be more stable than the PIPER mission mount. I also got the flight computer to recognize the star camera by reinstalling the driver, doing a firmware update, and changing the camera’s IP address and subnet mask. I want to get a camera from the picture and analyze it with my astrometry program this week! I also wrote my SPS presentation abstract. Eric and I will talk about export control (i.e. what technical information I am allowed to share at presentations) in Week 8.

On Tuesday, I got caught in a thunderstorm on the way home! A gigantic storm cloud passed over the bus route from NASA to the metro station. From far away it looked like San Francisco fog was rolling in (with lightning), but it was actually sheets of rain and hail so thick that it made the air look gray. Other than that, there was no buildup at all - it was like someone had flipped a switch to start the rain. There was lightning every 20 seconds and branches broke off of the trees and flew around everywhere. I have one video from when the storm was calmest, after that I was afraid that the hail would destroy my phone screen. Unfortunately, my phone got water in it as the storm picked up, otherwise I would have taken more pictures. Traffic was stopped for a solid 15 minutes and the bus never showed up. Me and one other person were able to split an uber to the metro station and I put my phone in rice when I got home.

On Wednesday, Taylor O came back from the AAPT conference. She met the person who designed the AP Physics curriculum and got some awesome merch. I’m glad she’s back, our unit felt really empty without her!

On Thursday, the interns had lunch with the AIP Foundation, who conduct fundraising for AIP. They treated us to some delicious Greek food and told us about their work. They also had some great advice for all of us and shared their stories.

The weather was beautiful for the rest of the week! I visited the Western Market near GWU with Kate on Monday, and we ate arepas and exchanged breads (see last week’s post). On Friday, most of the SPS interns listened to the Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra at Jazz in the Garden. The last Jazz in the Garden performance is next Friday, and we managed to get enough tickets for everyone to go. Hopefully we can sit closer to the musicians next time. The band sounded great but all the garden-goers were too loud! We also went to the Fiesta Asia Street Fair on Saturday, where me, Anthony, and Div ate mango sago and shared a Pandan taiyaki waffle. Later that day I went up Capitol Hill and came home to make mango sticky rice and cinnamon rolls with Matangi. The interns had a game night in the consignment. I got there late, but we played Filipino poker, slapjack, and ERS. We also sang karaoke until very late at night! On Sunday, my college friend Emma and I visited the National Gallery of Art and ate noodles at Reren Lamen in Chinatown.

Taylor O pointed out that we have less than 20 days left in this internship. I can’t believe that all of us will go our separate ways so soon. Luckily, we will all meet again at PhysCon 2022!

Nicole Leung