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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 first time.

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!

--Emily


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Last Updated: 30 August 2002

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