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Of images and public outreach


July 23, 2008 -
Today, we all planned to sleep in until about 7, but the Anthem, Ariz., team were awakened at just before 6 by a knock on our window -- apparently, we were needed at the Science Operations Center because our requests to send a command to the SSI to take an image of the Dodo/Goldilocks trench and take several images of dust devils had been approved. No problem getting up for that! 

The trench image was originally scheduled for today's sol, but the SSI was already needed for many other images, so it had been pushed until tomorrow. The images of possible dust devils were scheduled for today.  We arrived at the SOC at 7:20, and sat in on the midpoint meeting, the end-of-sol science meeting, and the strategic planning meetings. In the strategic planning meeting for the upcoming sol we had to justify why the command to take an image of the Dodo/Goldilocks trench should be done, and they put it into tomorrow's sol as a priority 1 (meaning it was likely to be included in the final plan)! After the meeting, we all went into the PIT to assist with public tours.

The San Diego team worked to make sure their robotic arm was functioning properly because their soil science tests begin tomorrow. They also were called upon to set up their arm for display to the public during the mission's Wednesday tours. Lots of adults and children stopped by to watch them make the arm move and show how it will use the thermal and electrical conductivity probe (TECP). Following that, there was a special tour for undergraduate and graduate students in NASA's Robotics Academy. While they were touring the PIT (Payload Interoperability Testbed), Alexa and Kris from the Anthem team interviewed Senior Engineer Pat Woida and the San Diego team for two podcasts about robotics. After the podcasts we presented about our work from this week to the Robotics Academy students and ended our twelve hour shift(!) by taking a group picture next to the engineering model of the Phoenix lander.  It was a busy day!

Off to track dust devils...

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

July 23: Alexa from the Anthem, Ariz. team interviews Phoenix Senior Engineer, Pat Woida.