A Day in the Life of a Student Intern: Emily
My experience as a student intern brought me into the excitement and
stress involved in planning space missions. In each day, there were two
martian days (sols) which put the science team under a very compressed
time schedule. There was also the excitement of the scientists who hadn't
worked on a Mars mission or field test and were experiencing it for the
My mentor, Steve Squyres (the Principal Investigator for the MER
project), gave me my first assignment! I was put in charge of creating and
maintaining a spreadsheet of expected versus returned data from the
FIDO rover. I soon found out that the data are a critical element of
planning the next sol's activities, because some of the information and
images that the scientists requested might not make it to them in time to
use. It felt amazing to be able to help the science team with my work.
I also learned a lot about geology and planetary science by simply
observing the science team meetings. Everyone was obviously very highly
skilled in his or her area, and when they all came together to talk, there
was a lot to be learned. By the end of my time there, I was forming ideas
similar to those of the group members about where to drive the rover
and what to do in a sol.
I'd say that being a student intern not only gave me the opportunity
to work with the Mars Exploration Rover Athena Science Team, but also
helped me understand what it is to be truly dedicated to and excited
about a project!