Summer has flown by, and it’s already July! It’s absolutely unbelievable, but it has been a very busy but rewarding summer. I thought I would check in and talk a little about what I’ve been up to since my sophomore year at USC ended!
After I finished my last final, my next few days were filled with packing (everyone’s favorite way to spend time, of course). It was very bittersweet saying goodbye to my apartment at Cardinal Gardens, but definitely a relief to have everything packed. I volunteered at the USC Commencement Ceremony, and it was so cool to see Larry Ellison speak! After the ceremony, I hitched a ride with a friend and moved straight to an apartment next to Caltech, where I have been staying for the past two months. I started my summer internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory a few days later, and it’s been a whirlwind of an experience!
I’ve been working as a Europa Clipper Avionics Test Analyst in the Avionics Integration, Test and Operations Group at JPL. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the Europa testbed and becoming more familiar with testbed operations, and I’ve learned so much! To give you a little background on the purpose of the mission: the Europa Clipper involves developing prototype avionics for the mission to Europa, which is one of Jupiter’s moons. The goal of the Europa mission overall is to investigate its inhabitability through the ice-shell and ocean, composition, and geology. The Avionics and Flight Software portion of this mission is extremely important because it acts as the central nervous system and brain of the spacecraft. This involves constantly monitoring the health of the system, keeping it working, and making decisions on what to do next. All of this information and more can be found here, if you want to learn more!
One of my favorite parts about working at JPL is how there is always something exciting going on: last summer at my internship (read more about it here) there was the Pluto fly-by, and this year on Independence Day was the Juno spacecraft arriving at Jupiter! There are always awesome developments that keep the ongoing excitement around lab strong, so there’s never a dull day around here.
Since I started my internship as soon as school ended, I’m nearing the end of my internship, so next week I’m going to be flying home to Florida for a few weeks to relax before heading back to LA for another semester! It’s been a while since I’ve been home, so I’m very much looking forward to it! Leaving JPL this summer won’t be as sad as I was expecting, though, because I’m going to continue working on the Europa team part-time throughout the fall semester! I’m beyond ecstatic and I’m anticipating an awesome semester in the fall!
Until next time, Fight On!Meet Michelle