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by Andy Shaner

May 09, 2008 -

Well, folks, this is it. Today marks the end of my four-year tenure with the mission. This will be a relatively short blog entry; I could go on and on about all the great times I have had with the mission. However, that could take pages so I won’t, but, what a ride it has been.

It has been an experience that I have enjoyed from beginning to end and an experience I will never forget. I have met so many interesting people, and I have learned something from everyone I have met and worked with. The amount of knowledge I have absorbed is enough to fill volumes. Besides learning so much about Mars, I feel I have also learned a great deal about the process of science in general. That, above all else, will be very important as I begin my life after I leave here.

Saturday morning I leave Tucson, beginning a 1,000-mile drive back home to Kansas, Allison, my family, and my future. I will leave the University of Arizona with my M.A. in Science Education, with an emphasis in planetary science.

My time at UA and the Phoenix Mission has more than prepared me to begin my career as a science teacher. Both Allison and I have accepted teaching positions for the fall. She will be teaching middle school English, and I will be teaching high school physics and earth and space science. All the knowledge I have consumed the past four years has given me great confidence to teach my subject matter, but now I feel more confident about what science is and hopefully I will be able to pass that knowledge along to my students.

To everyone who has been following the mission, I hope you continue to follow the mission and share in the excitement of the discoveries that are to be made this summer. To everyone who has ever dreamed of being a part of a Mars mission, I say do it. It is the greatest experience you will ever have. Finally, to all my colleagues on the Phoenix Mars Mission, I wish you all the best of luck this summer and in all your future endeavors.

This is me signing off. Goodbye.