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Transcript: Mission Makers - Planetary Science Summer School

Transcript: Mission Makers - Planetary Science Summer School


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My name is Abigail Fraeman, and I am studying Earth and planetary science with an emphasis on planetary science and mostly Mars and its moons. I am doing the power subsystems role. In order to design these missions, we get input from almost everybody, saying we need this much power. We do our calculations saying we can give you less than you need,
and then it goes back to the front.

My name is Serina Diniega. I'm a postdoc here at JPL. I've been here about nine months.I'm a planetary geomorphologist. My role here is I'm the cost person. I will have to be getting very involved in monitoring the money and helping everyone figure out what we should cut.

My name is Ricardo Diaz-Silva. My role as a programmatics and risk manager is to go and talk with all the different subsystems in the mission design process in order to identify what are the potential risks that could affect the mission.

My name is Jennifer Hudson. Right now I'm a postdoc at the University of Michigan. I'm studying trajectory optimization and control theory. Here, I am the instruments lead. So I'm responsible for compiling all the information on the science instruments that are going to be on our spacecraft.

[Diniega] So, our mission is going to the Trojan asteroids.

[Fraeman] There's very little known about these asteroids. They're very difficult to observe from Earth, and we've never visited there by spacecraft. What our mission will do is do a flyby of one of these asteroids and then
go into orbit around another one.

[Hudson] We think that these bodies hold a lot of keys to the origins of the solar system and where the different
planets and other solar system bodies formed.

[Diaz-Silva] The mission we're designing is called TASTER, and that stands for the Trojan Asteroid Tour Exploration and Rendezvous.

[Hudson] Right now we're looking at I think a list of seven or eight different instruments.

[Diaz-Silva] We tried to follow this TASTER food theme and decided to name the different instruments with different related names. So for example we have GRAINS, WASABI instrument, TILAPIA.

[Fraeman] I've been working on CAVIAR, the Compositional Analysis from Visible and Near-Infrared Radiation.

[Diaz-Silva] We want to do the most science we can do and try to include a lot of scientific instruments to do all sorts of measurements, and unfortunately we couldn't put all of them in the spacecraft. So you have to enter a compromise between like many members of the team in order to see what flies.

[Diniega] It's really interesting trying to work within the limits that have been set for the mission, both in terms of what's physically feasible and then, of course, what's financially possible.

[Hudson] Well it's been interesting for me to see how passionate people are about this science. I'm working with all of these geologists and planetary atmosphere experts and things like that, and I never had any insight into their world, so it's very interesting for me to see that they really want to find out infrared spectra and things like that, which I didn't know anything about.

Each of us has a mentor and we've been working closely with that person in our roles. And they've provided a lot of expertise on what a person in that role would actually be doing in one of these mission design studies.

I think Charles is a good mentor.He's been through this many times and he knows how to direct us to accomplish the study and not get hung up. But he also lets us come up with our own decisions.

[Fraeman] He brings up these issues that I never even realized existed in designing a spacecraft.

[Charles Budney] This group has been working really well together. They've taken leadership on all their instruments. So they're kind of ahead of where groups typically are at this point. I'm looking and thinking this is probably a selectable mission because they're doing such a great job.

[Hudson] I think I've learned that this actually can be done so quickly. I would have thought that a study like this would take a very long time to accomplish, but the way JPL has it set up here, it's actually possible with all of these experts working together to accomplish a lot, very quickly and very well.

[Fraeman] I think it was a very unique experience. Trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose was kind of what this was like.

[Diaz-Silva] The interesting thing about the Planetary Summer School is that is brings students and postdocs, we're all early career, future scientists. And it brings them all from different institutions in the country in trying to work together in order to do this mission design process.

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