Week Five: The Library of Congress

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Sunday, July 10, 2016


Maria McQuillan

This week was a short but jam packed week. I have made some progress in my research, but I have also spent the last few weeks barking up the wrong tree. After a week of long work days and toiling over my code, I believe I have a clearer idea about what my reasearch is producing. This week I also learned about the theory behind the creation of the slow solar wind. Our sun is so complicated, and I couldn't have more respect for the people trying to model it's behavior. A highlight of my week was attending a tour of Goddard’s robotic operations facility. We got to see the current plans for two really interesting missions: a satellite refueling mission and an asteroid redirecting mission. The refueling mission plans to do a nearly autonomous refueling of a satellite, meaning there will be no astronauts on board, only robots. If all goes well it will be the first satellite servicing completed without astronauts. The second project is for redirecting asteroids heading towards earth. The plan is to remove a piece of the asteroid and effectively use the gravity of the spacecraft plus asteroid piece to alter the motion of the asteroid. 

Another notable event from this week was the women in STEM fair on Capitol Hill. The fair was an outreach program for women of all ages in the STEM realm. SPS had a table set up for kids and adults getting interested in STEM. We had an optics demo to explain how we can determine the composition of far off stars and planets using light diffraction. It was a very fun affair and I was able to meet some very successful women in STEM as well as some smart young girls.

This weekend was a bit less exciting then my past four, but very productive. I spent the weekend researching for graduate schools and studying for the physics GRE. What better place to study than the Library of Congress?


Maria McQuillan