Week 6 SQP (July 15th - July 21st)

Written By: Brian Badders and Lauren McMahon

Monday, July 15th:

The Aero Academy had their midterm presentations today, so the Space Academy was surprised with a quiet walk to breakfast. The Academites then had a full day of research on their individual projects. After MNL that evening, the staffers and Brian drove the group to dinner at the usual Panera/Five Guys venue before shopping for groceries. Everyone did laundry late at night to wash their attractive baby blue polos for the group photo tomorrow. Emily had to work late finishing an assignment for her beloved mentor, Chris, but dinner and groceries were waiting for her when she got home. How nice!

Tuesday, July 16th:
Although the Academites were excited to wear their freshly-washed polos in the afternoon, the group photo was rescheduled for Wednesday morning... How tragic! Brad and the rest of the NASA Lunar Science Institute were working hard all week on the NASA Lunar Science Virtual Forum, and many of the RA’s tuned in to show their support. During the lunch hour, the group met with Dr. Richard Boyle to talk about their Universal Bioreactor group project, and he was very excited to assist and offered to be another project mentor. The Academites then rushed off to the Director’s Colloquium, which featured Senior Adviser to the Center Director Jack Boyd, who spoke about “Reflections on Over 70 Years of NACA/NASA at Ames Research Center: The Giants on Whose Shoulders We Stood.”

Wednesday, July 17th:
During breakfast, the Academites learned of an opportunity to present their group project via Google Hangout to officials in the White House. Giddy with excitement, the team had no problem smiling wide for yet another group photo. The Americans in the group then went to Skybox Imaging for the most epic tour of their lives! They observed and learned much about the company’s goal of creating an orbital network of imaging satellites. (It was also exciting to learn about some of the upcoming opportunities to work there!) The NASA Glenn Academy videoed in to join in a Q&A session with the Skybox founders and Academy alumni that worked there. It was interesting to hear their perspectives on how the Academy helped them, how they arrived to where they are in their careers (network, network, network!), and what their opinions were about government vs. private industry.

Later in the day, some of the Academy enjoyed the MegaBites Happy Hour before Brad and Michael Zero came over to the quads to talk to us about our expectations for the rest of the summer. Spoiler alert: we’re going to be busier than ever! Despite a miscommunication about when abstracts were due, we were able to quickly produce abstracts for our group and individual projects by the 8 PM deadline.

Thursday, July 18th:
The NASA Dryden Aeronautics Academy visited Ames today for tours, and they met up with the NASA Ames Academy for Space Exploration for lunch. Both Academies got to learn all about each others’ group projects and exchange business cards. After lunch, several Academites attended another Director’s Colloquium, where Pete Worden spoke on “The Search for Life in the Universe and Our Future” and gave a personal shout-out to Karl in front of a full auditorium! Some family and friends started rolling in for the upcoming visitor weekend, and all were excited to tour NASA Ames and meet their Academites’ new friends.

Friday, July 19th:
Family Weekend kicked off with another smooth badging experience for the visitors. (Even the international family members were badged quickly and efficiently!) After introducing family and friends to the gourmet MegaBites cuisine, the group headed off to a presentation about the Academy so the visitors could learn more about the program and what their Academites have been up to. The RA’s gave their elevator pitches, and some were surprised with the task of introducing their visitors as well. Karl was caught the most off-guard with this, as he struggled to remember any information about his mother! (He appeared to be meeting her for the first time right along with the rest of the Academy.) Ohhh Karl!

Once all were introduced, the students and their visitors broke into two groups and had an exciting day full of tours! On the agenda were trips to McMoon, the Vertical Motion Simulator, the Exploration Center, Flight Line, Sustainability Base, and the Supercomputing Facility.

During our tour of the Flight Line/ATC Tower, Karl was ogling an engineering prototype Tesla that was performing high speed tests on the runway. (The car is an all-electric sports car capable of going 0-60 in 4 seconds.) But it was Lauren and Brian who were electrified as they were given the opportunity to feel the leather of the seats and the wind blowing through their hair. The groups then headed to Sustainability Base to learn more about NASA Ames’s newest building... a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum structure. The final stop of the day was the Supercomputing Facility, where everyone struggled to stay warm while learning about the incredible data processing power of the Pleiades supercomputer system. At the conclusion of the tours, the Academites had a little bit of spare time before dinner, so some people showed their visitors where they work while others went with Marissa for her next experiment in the centrifuge. The day concluded with a delicious pasta dinner at Tee Minus One!

Saturday, July 20th:
For Family Weekend, many RAs went off to explore while the “orphans” hung back at the quads. Those with loved ones in town enjoyed a variety of activities including kayaking, fine dining, and sightseeing. But not to worry: the orphans had fun plans of their own, including plans to relax by the pool and enjoy each other’s company! However, this was quickly foiled by Tom’s “it will just take a minute” trip to AT&T. Although it did indeed take a minute, it also took 89 subsequent minutes ensuring that the Academites arrived at the pool just as the sun dipped below the tree line. Determined to have a good time, the RAs hopped/cannonballed into the pool. The evening came to a close as the Academites all got ice cream from “gallstone ice cream in Tanzania.” (Siri’s incorrect translation of “Nearby Coldstone Ice Cream.”)

Sunday, July 21st:
The orphans started their last day of the weekend by making plans to do some clothes shopping or hang back at the quads. All around good guy, Brian, even offered to drive Tom to AT&T again. The girls took their time doing a fashion show with their new purchases, and all ordered take-out from Amarin and had a delicious dinner covered in plum sauce. Those with visitors in town continued spending time with them while missing their orphaned friends. Some of them braved San Francisco without knowing that a million extra people were in town for the annual AIDS walk, while others stayed more local and ran into each other on Castro Street in Mountain View!

Picture of the Week:
Week 6

Video Clip of the Week: