Week 1

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Sunday, June 6, 2021


Joseph Watson

This week at SPS:  The first week of my internship with SPS has been exciting.  This summer's internship program is still remote because of COVID-19, but there are still plenty of fun things happening virtually.  We had our orientation this week, and we also had a meet and greet event! Us interns have also been hanging out.  Before we even got started, we did a game night on zoom a few weeks ago, so that was super fun. This week we had a “Bad Physics” movie night, and we watched Antman!

This week at NASA:  My internship placement is at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where I am working on the EXCLAIM team with Dr. Eric Switzer.  EXCLAIM is the “experiment for cryogenic large-aperture intensity mapping," and it seeks to study star formation by building a balloon-borne instrument that will measure the redshifted emission of carbon monoxide and single-ionized carbon to form an intensity map of the sky.

Mind-blowing fact of the week:  Having little experience or previous interest in similar research, I thought that about 2.7 kelvin was close to the lowest achievable temperature because that is the temperature of space. However, the instrument for this project is to be operated around 1.7 kelvin, and the spectrometers used are to be operated around 0.1 kelvin!

Joseph Watson