|Posted on Jan 21, 2013 02:57:29 PM | Maria Navarro | 0 Comments ||
Day 1: Welcome to a new challenge
Welcome to my blog and to my amazing journey on ATTREX 2013.
I feel excited about this new campaign, even though it happens immediately after my New Year’s party and I haven’t had enough time to rest!
Today, I flew from Miami, FL to Los Angeles, CA on a long 5 hours flight. During this time, I have not only watched movies, solved crosswords, and listened to some music; I also thought about my expectations for this campaign. As a scientist, I have an infinite number of goals. For example, I would like to develop my research skills, and/or to improve my performance using the basic knowledge I acquired last year. But as a member of the ATTREX team, I only hope for the fieldwork to run smoothly. The problem is that there are some things you simply can't plan for during a field work, and unforeseen problems will definitely change our mission plans. In this context, I believe that my only option is to be optimistic and to think positive! Since graduate school I learned that obstacles are the stimulus that impels our actions to successfully complete our work, and I am sure that ATTREX 2013 won’t be the exception to this rule. Thus, welcome to this adventure and to the new challenge that is waiting for us.
Entrance of Dryden Flight Research Center (Who says Disneyland?... actually, it is HERE where the “magic” begins)
Day 2: Hands on the aircraft (Kinda!!!)
Today was my first day at Dryden. It was nice to come back and see all the familiar faces and wish them Happy New Year.
Our day started pretty early in the morning (around 6: 00 am). I was still tired from my trip, but I like to get my hands on the aircraft, so I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Our job today was to install our instrument inside of the aircraft to complete the weight and balance. However, since it was the first installation for the mission, Elliot (our instrument PI) took charge. I then played the role of assistant, which it is not that bad…at least I was still able to touch the aircraft (literally). Thus, as an assistant I was just handled the modules and the necessary tools for the AWAS installation. The problem was that I wasn’t too familiar with the name of the tools in English (oops!). Luckily, our brilliant mechanic Steve was nearby, and he handled most of the tools for me…Thank you Steve, you certainly avoided my awkward moment. Despite this embarrassing moment (that I think nobody knew until I wrote it), I still feel proud of my labor! Today I’m not just a simple chemist; I’m a chemist who knows the name of the tools. That’s the beauty of ATTREX, there is always something new to learn!!
AWAS modules ready for installation inside aircraft
Elliot Atlas inside of the aircraft during AWAS installation
Day 3 through 6: First things first: Let’s clean some canisters!!! (With HEAT!)
I finished my week and started the new one by cleaning canisters!!! This is definitely one of the most important steps to assure the precision of our work. Thus, I have to be really careful about the procedure and keep track of all the steps. The procedure is very simple, although sometimes it takes a couple of hours to be done. Basically, I introduce the canisters inside an oven and pump out the air that was previously setting inside them. Then, I introduce clean nitrogen and pump it out again. I repeat this process several times, so it keeps me busy for most of the day. However, one of the greatest advantages of doing this work is to be close to the oven. To be honest, the temperatures in the desert have been extreme!!, and I think the hangar has a peculiar temperature regulator… It can only be set to cold or “super “cold. So, if you are planning a trip to Dryden during winter time, just be sure to bring extra coats or your own oven!!!
The cleaning system (OVEN included!!!)
Tags : ATTREX