Yay, I finally had a really fun weekend, so let me tell you all about it 😀
Thursday we got a short tour of a CUBESAT development lab. For those who don’t know, CUBESATs are little satellites funded on a low-cost high-risk model; basically companies can make these small satellites (probably on the order of 2x1x1 ft?) and get them launched for super cheap. While it’s obviously difficult to cram anything super-novel into something so small, it also opens up research avenues for individual labs to send up their own customized sensors. I thought it was both really cool to see a CUBESAT first-hand, getting a tour from an engineer who worked on it to a group of about 10, but also to know more about the business model which I think makes a lot of sense. Here’s pictures:
Friday was a slow day; we got the Friday off because JPL has a schedule called the ‘9/80’ schedule, where we can work 9 hours a day 9 days every two weeks (eight hours on fridays) and get every tenth day off, which means a long weekend EVERY OTHER WEEK. Pretty cool stuff.
Saturday morning I went to the Caltech Summer Preview event and acted as a panelist for a JPL information panel, my second paneling experience. Basically the first twenty minutes one of the admissions staff talked about JPL’s connection with Caltech and stuff, then we were called up (three of us panelists) and she asked us a few questions, and the crowd also did too. I really like being a panelist because it’s a little bit more varied than tours! Maybe it’s also that I get a bit of company, and it’s a bit more interactive, plus less walking (exercise is hard). In any case, it’s an opportunity not exclusively open to admissions students and was certainly a fun one!
Later that day I met up with my friend at Chinatown for a "Chinatown Summer Experience" or something like that. I watched him lose a spicy-dumpling eating contest (in his defense, he went first and so had no idea how fast to go and missed the time cut), then we ordered dinner (I was mostly in charge since I had the best chinese, and his friends really liked my choice of dishes =D), and then we finally took a walk around Chinatown. It was a really cool experience, pictures below (of Chinatown event and the dumplings he had to eat; they evidently aren’t very spicy as you may have guessed):
Finally, Sunday I went on surfing (real surf, not Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, mind you) lessons, my first ever! I would more accurately describe them as falling-off-surfboard lessons, but it was all in good fun; it’s a lot more fun falling off surfboards when you’re doing it with friends 🙂 We got to spend 2.5 hrs for just $45, including rental/instructor, so that was really good deal too! Below is a photo of the instructor with some students:
That really wraps up my weekend in terms of the interesting things. Next weekend I kinda want to go back to the Academy movie theatre; it’s such a cheap yet convenient attraction. We’ll see if there are any good movies/good friends…