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Exploration and discovery


July 29, 2008 -
The shift started at 8 in the morning for the Pomona, Calif., PSIP team today -- a little earlier than the other teams because our scientist, Dr. Leslie Tamppari, wanted to work with us on the task of creating sequences for the spacecraft. We set up the spreadsheet that has the specific times for the spacecraft "wake" and "sleep" on it. We also worked on planning some coordinated observations for sol 66. Sol 66 will be planned formally on Thursday and we've got our fingers crossed that the observations we helped create will make it into the final plan.  If they do, the data should come back on Friday, letting us see the outcome of our work this week.

The other two teams came in about an hour later for the kickoff meeting, and started work on their projects. The Mountain View, Calif., team continued our comparative analysis of images from our lab experiments with images from the actual Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) for our mentor, Dr. Carol Stoker.  Moiz finished compiling a list of the specific image identifiers so now we can find all the images we need in the database. We also got the opportunity to help name one of the next trenches to be explored, which will be informally called "Neverland," in keeping with the fairytale naming theme for this mission. To come up with associated names that could be used with future targets/features in that area, Caitlin scanned through all of the original "Peter Pan" text to find names. It was quite thrilling to sit in on the midpoint meeting and hear the scientists refer to the "Neverland" trench!

The Cleveland, Texas, team had a day of hard work and apprehension. We continued work on our spectral analysis project for Dr. Doug Ming, and followed along as they planned another TEGA sample for an upcoming sol. We're really hoping they are successful, because then we will have some exciting additional data to analyze.

Our shift ended a bit early today because we had the opportunity to go to the Titan Missile Museum outside of Tucson for a tour with one of the operators who had worked at the silo. He took us down into the underground part of it where we saw the missile shell and the control panel. When we got back, we had dinner at one of our PSIP apartments. After that we headed to the pool with the other two teams and watched a movie together.

Hasta la vista,

Your friendly neighborhood PSIP teams from Cleveland High School (Cleveland, TX), Mountain View High School (Mountain View, CA) and Village Academy High School (Pomona, CA)

Caitlin from the Mountain View, CA team works to name a new trench with mission undergraduate Rebecca Greenberger while PSIP Facilitator, Chris Gregory, looks on.