Saturday, June 2, 2012

Zizz in Alabama

Salut all!  Zizz here.  Let me begin by pointing out that right now the 2014s are owning y'all at posting to this blog so y'all had better catch up.

When I stepped off the plane at HSV last Sunday, I felt as if I had walked into a steamcloud.  The first few days in Alabama were in the mid-90s, and walking outside was like being cloaked in a blanket of radiation and water vapor.  Thankfully it rained yesterday so it was a much cooler 75, and today promises to be a lovely sunny 77 for the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) family picnic, which all the interns will be going to.  They're making us all wear our red MSFC intern shirts, which say "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION" on the back... *puzzlement*

MSFC "World's Flattest Floor"
This week was our first week, and we began with an informal orientation on Monday and then a formal one on Tuesday, which mostly involved going through packets of papers on safety and policy and how to get NASA badges and IT accounts (I have an email for the summer!  except I forgot my password... so I need to call IT to reset it for me... whoops).  I was introduced to my project - I'll be working in the Flight Robotics Lab, home to the largest flat floor in the world.  The lab facility is really cool; the building used to be used for missile construction, so think large warehouse thing with all black walls and very little light.  About half the floor (13 m x 26 m) is the "flat floor" which apparently doesn't vary in height more than .025 mm.  The carts they put on the floor have things that look like hockey pucks on the legs, and they're sort like reverse-air hockey - air is pumped out through these legs to float the carts a little above the surface, allowing them to simulate a frictionless environment.  I found this picture of it online, which is a nice picture but has weird reflections going on on the floor.  We're not allowed to wear shoes on the floor. 

So by day I've been working 8 to 5 (and I have discovered that it is much more difficult to wake up after sleep from ten to six than from midnight to eight... sunlight works wonders on my ability to wake up).  After 5, sometimes we have speakers come in from industry or from NASA or UAH (Univ. AL - Huntsville).  So this week we had a speaker who recently won the Shaw prize in Astronomy give a talk, as well as an alum of our program working for a space contracting company.  We are being housed in the UAH dorm - I have my own room and two very awesome suitemates.  Here's a picture of my room.  I get a lot of light in the mornings, which makes me happy.

Sometimes in the evenings we've had program-wide fun events.  This week we had a spaghetti dinner one night, we went out to eat as a group last night, and there was a barbecue on Thursday.  So those things are fun.  Last night six of us hung out in my suite and played telephone pictionary, with mixed results.  My favorite was when "A carton of spoiled milk is shunned by all the other food in the fridge" turned into "An angry strawberry and pizza glare at a flaming flashlight."

It's 9:05 AM and I need to eat before meeting for the MSFC picnic (which goes from 10 to 3).  I echo Anna's plea that people post - reading this blog is how I deal with LMF-withdrawal over the summer.


No comments:

Post a Comment