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These journal entries were written by the Ramsay High School team during their week at JPL.


03/07/04 (notes from Chris): We arrived at JPL at 3:00 p.m. and we met with Dr. Tom Wdowiak. He filled us in on his current projects. He noticed that on three of the Gusev Crater rocks from which we had taken Mössbauer Spectra, a significant amount of magnetite (about 6%) (Fe3O4) was found. He also noticed that in recent spectra taken from martin meteorites, there were extremely small amounts of magnetite (if any only irrelevant traces). This is probably due to the meteorites being significantly older than samples examined at Gusev Crater.

03/08/04 (notes from Chris): We arrived at JPL and sat in on the first meeting (Science Assessment Meeting). After this meeting, we had a discussion with Dr. Wdowiak and Dr. Hap McSween regarding Dr. Wdowiak?s theories. At Dr. Wdowiak?s request, I wrote a paper for the Cornell web site answering a student?s question about the Mössbauer Effect.

We later began to work with Dr. Paulo de Souza, Jr. We were calculating time and temperature readings taken during the use of the Mössbauer Spectrometer. We will use this information to determine the heat relationship between the inside and outside of the spectrometer. This is very interesting engineering data that we can use in the event that one of the two temperature monitors has difficulties.

Sprit is edging ever closer to Bonneville Crater and we are waiting anxiously to peer over its edge. We are also waiting for results from a forty-five-minute Mössbauer touch-and-go that will be taken tonight. We had the privilege to eat dinner with Mary Mulvanerton from Cornell, Dr. Souza, and an APXS scientist from Germany.

03/09/04 (notes from Chris): The orbital pattern of the satellite was later than usual today so we came in at 1:00 p.m. We continued our work on the Mössbauer temperature ratios with Dr. Souza. The first pictures taken by Spirit of the rim of Bonneville Crater came back today; they were phenomenal! With the stereophonic image, you could actually see the curvature of the rim leading into the crater. This new view allowed us to see some hills in the background. We were also able to see the heat shield of the rover. Before it was identified there was some excitement as to what it could be, but we quickly decided that it was the heat shield. We also got the touch and go back from the previous night. It was a soil sample, which had more olivine.

03/10/04 (notes from Chris): We took part in the REWG (Robotics Education Working Group) videoconference. We explained our role in the Athena Student Interns Program. They seemed just slightly impressed.... I got about fifteen seconds into describing the Mössbauer Spectrometer and one guy said, ?OK you?re hired!? So judging by that, I think we did fairly well.

We switched over to Opportunity, which provided us with additional time to site see in Beverly Hills. Once back at JPL, we were hoping to get a chance to look at the spherical ?berries? and get some good spectra on them. We have started working with Dr. Dick Morris and Daniel Rodionov. We are using images from the Microscopic Imager to calculate the exact area of the sample scanned by the Mössbauer Spectrometer. Once we isolate these areas we will determine the ratio of ?berries? to soil for each spectrum taken. Once we have this data we will be able to determine the chemical composition of the ?berries?. We will have to develop some method to determine the soil/?berry?ratio. The empty soil-only spectrum that we are taking right now will be extremely useful in determining the composition of these spheres.

We also had the pleasure to watch the great Dr. Steve Squyres in action (not to mention meet him). The leadership skills he displayed in guiding the science team toward one common goal were unprecedented.
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