These are very exciting times, especially being an intern with the Mars Public Engagement Team at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Why you may ask? It's because of one simple word that nourishes our minds, drives us to question our world and others, and allows us to create the impossible: Curiosity.
What I find absolutely inspirational about this mission is everything. From naming the rover, to landing on Mars, and getting to peruse the Martian environment puts me in awe of all human endeavors. As I got to meet and listen to the engineers and scientists who played an integral part for this mission, I perceive them as the true celebrities of life. Their ingenuity and creativity to design the 7 mission-critical minutes of the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) stage motivates me to become an engineer.
It is not strange to see a newly graduated high-school student like me working on lab. I believe everybody can get a job here...well not everybody, because the facility cannot host billions of people... but if you are very interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), there is possibility to contribute to space exploration. Yesterday, I got the opportunity to meet Clara Ma, the lovely girl who named the rover when she was 12 years of age. This shows that no matter how young, your ideas and contributions won't go unnoticed.
As an intern I find working with JPL a constant struggle. Not the kind of struggle that's a burden, but rather the one that makes you push yourself harder to accomplish your goal. My main project this summer is getting to design and manage the blog you are on this second, Martian Diaries! It's very rewarding to see the final product on which you logged so many hours. However, what's more gratifying is the knowledge and the experience points I received that accompanied coming in to JPL every day. For that, I'm truly grateful.
As for now, my fingers are crossed for the safe landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover.