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New(s) to us...


July 20, 2008 -
Hello from this week's PSIP teams! We are just finishing our first "shift" for the Phoenix mission after a day of travel. A dramatic change of our lives. The shift started for us at 2:45 a.m. local time and nobody could sleep much in anticipation before we needed to get ready to go. We are very excited to arrive now because the science studies are well underway.

The Anthem, AZ, team arrived after driving about three hours from north of Phoenix, while the San Diego flew here in just over an hour. We are joined by our PSIP facilitator, Emily Haynes from Centaurus High School in Lafayette, CO, who flew in from Denver and met the San Diego Team at the airport. Dr. Haynes worked with students on the Mars Exploration Rover mission, so she has plenty of experience with Mars missions!

The day started with introductions and a kickoff meeting with "shift 1" of the science team. Then we all got right to work. The Anthem team is starting an imaging project mapping surface features correlating objects seen on the surface by Phoenix with the high resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The San Diego team brought a model of the robotic arm that they hope to use with studies later in the week (stay tuned!) but today was meeting everyone in their scientist mentor's group and learning about the variety of computer platforms and languages that are used by the team. Dr. Haynes is adding insight from her experience with the Athena Student Interns Program, and basically making sure that we have what we need.

If you are reading many of these notes, sleep is a common theme with all of the PSIP teams and the science team. Mars time is currently about 12 hours different than local time, so a huge issue for us. There are a variety studies going on with how participants are coping with the sleep issues, which have implications for human spaceflight and exploration. We were very interested in blue light screens set up in different places which are supposed to help people stay awake by preventing release of a chemical in our bodies that make people tired. It seemed to work!

Over and out!

Your friendly neighborhood PSIP teams from Boulder Creek High School (Anthem, AZ) and SciTech High School (San Diego, CA)

The San Diego, CA team works on setting up the robotic arm they built at their school.