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Press briefing on Mars


July 31, 2008 -
Well, the mission press briefing was today and there was definitely a lot of excitement in the air because, though we had already heard the announcements about TEGA and the large panorama, the information had not yet been made public. The information that was new to us was that the mission got funding to extend to the end of the fiscal year.  Everyone was very excited about that! It was amazing to be sitting in the room watching these scientists brief basically the whole world on what they had been doing.

It was also exciting to get to meet the Tucson, AZ, PSIP team in person. They came in to the SOC to see the press conference and were very interested to see what the scientists have discovered since they spent their week here. We introduced them to the secret stash of ice cream that was stocked in the freezer. They had a chance to put the finishing touches on their presentation for the end-of-sol science meeting and then we all headed over to the large conference room together.

The Pomona, CA, and Tucson, AZ, teams presented their work today during end-of-sol. We presented in the Conference Room to about fifty scientists and it wasn't so bad to present. It actually felt quite good to have scientists hear about our experience and our projects. The Pomona team went first. We presented on all the work we had done updating the Coordinated Observations and other projects that Dr. Leslie Tamppari wanted us to do. We were pretty nervous but it went smoothly and we felt really excited and accepted by the scientists when they clapped for us. 

The Tucson team presented next.  It was really scary to get up in front of all the scientists who we had seen do amazing presentations, and show what we had been working on for quite some time. Once our presentation was done we sat down and watched the rest of the meeting. From our week at the SOC before, the End of Sol meetings had always been our favorite, and it was great to go to another one and to meet some of the other PSIP teams.

After the end-of-sol science meeting, the Mountain View, CA, team spent the afternoon recording a podcast about all the different instruments on the Phoenix lander that will be posted online soon. It felt like one of those educational movies you watch in school with the people that never stop smiling, but we had fun! The Cleveland, TX, team completed work on the data sets that Dr. Ming gave us, which then gave us time to finish our presentation for the science team tomorrow.

After a team dinner at El Charro Cafe, where Caitlin actually finished the USA Today Chimichanga (see previous PSIP blog), we were all sad to see the Pomona, CA, team and PSIP Facilitator, Chris Gregory, head back to their home states. The rest of us are looking forward to an eventful last day "on Mars" tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

Your friendly neighborhood PSIP teams from Cleveland High School (Cleveland, TX), Mountain View High School (Mountain View, CA), Village Academy High School (Pomona, CA), and special guest appearance by Empire High School (Tucson, AZ)

This week's PSIP teams and facilitators pose in front of the Science Operations Center mural.