Week 8: Tours on Tours

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Saturday, July 28, 2018


Collin Flynn

 This week we had our NASA and NIST tour. If you know me at all, you know that I love giving tours. So obviously the NASA tour was great. Daniel and I took the interns throughout Goddard’s campus. We were lucky that our dates worked out because the tour was awesome! NASA was doing an event that day called the “Science Jamboree” for all the NASA employees and interns and this year—the SPS interns too! They brought out a bunch of their old equipment and models for everyone to see and touch. Some were presenting their research, and there was even a VR headset free to use. If you ever get the chance to try VR, which I’m sure you will, try it! It’s a very different experience, and it’s getting more and more realistic by the day. After that, Charles Malespin, head of the sample analysis at Mars (SAM) project, happily took them over to check out the place where the SAM replica instrument is. The instrument is held in a giant chamber that is put under Mars’ environmental conditions, and anything they want to try on the actual SAM instrument on Mars, they try first in that chamber. When everyone had asked all the questions they could think to ask, Daniel and I took them over to check our labs, then dropped them off at the visitor’s center and went back to work!

The NIST tour with Jesus was also amazing. The facility itself was incredible, and the just the general vibe left me feeling great. The best part about the facility was that right in the middle of campus was a big apple tree. But not just any apple tree, this tree was a clone of the apple tree that Isaac Newton was said to have gotten the inspiration for discovering gravity from.

This week at work, I was basically a computer geek. I had to teach myself many new functions in python to be able to process some of the data. Two sleepless nights later I finally got my code running and I was ecstatic. Anyone who just finished a long project or had that math problem moment where it all finally clicked knows exactly how I was feeling. There’s still so much more data to process before the poster session next week, so this weekend may not be filled be too much fun-packed days. However, Brigette and I just got back from the botanical gardens and stole some peppers from the area, so that is a pretty good start to the weekend. Perhaps it won’t be too bad after all.

Till next time

Collin Flynn