A Day in the Life of a Student Intern: Deisy
My first day, I joined the Geology Science Theme Group which started out with only four people. We struggled with using the Science Activity Planner (SAP), the program we use to plan activities for the rover. We decided to suggest having the rover take a panoramic picture of an area that seemed intriguing. Little did we realize that the group would not only make great observations, but would also become one of the biggest and most interesting groups at the field tests.
Our first observation was noticing that the rock "Kaibab" has different types of layers. The surface is very coarse and the top layer has some type of surface where minerals might sink in. That creates a type of film that covers the top of the rock with particles that either have been or are now in the atmosphere. That means the top of the rock is tainted with different substances and the rock will be made up of many different things. The vertical face of the rock has several layers that are visible to the human eye. The team agreed to further investigate the rock and its surroundings. Many areas of the rock are exposed and show signs of aging. We also noticed that there is a lot of gray deposit surrounding the rock that could have possibly been deposited by wind. Many mud cracks that encircle the rock show that there could have been water at some point.
There were many things that our team wanted to ask the rover to do. One of them was to get a Mini-TES measurement of the vertical face, which seemed to be well-cemented and layered. The second was another Mini-TES measurement of the top of the rock because of the bedding that it shows. The area we were most interested in was a definite problem because there was a bit of an overhang. The overhang looked like a boat's prow. The engineers would not allow us to send the rover inside the overhang where the layers are visible because it could damage the rover's components.
Instead of harming the rover, we decided to do two things. The first was to keep the rover from harm. The other was still to get data from Kaibab. The solution was to choose a place that the rover could safely approach, but that would provide an interesting look. The spot we chose was a bit to the right of the overhang, but we were confident that it would still let us view the same aspects of the rock. It was a great example of the work that can get done if there is cooperation between engineering and science.