Dear Fellow Martians,
While the Curiosity rover is busy exploring the Martian surface, I am going to school as a sophomore at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan. I am very involved in my school's environmental club, and this year we started a composting program in our cafeteria.
I've also taken on a role in my local Sierra Club chapter's energy efficiency campaign. I think caring for our planet goes hand-in-hand with science and exploration. It is something that is very important to me.
In February, I rode a bus to Washington, D.C., with 40 other people to attend the Forward On Climate Change rally. The bus ride was a little over 24 hours, but it didn't feel that long at all. I had so much fun meeting and talking with people who had similar passions and motivations to those that I have. The rally and its immense energy opened my eyes to the things I could accomplish in my own community.
In May, I visited my grandparents in Beijing, China. Saying goodbye is always hard, because I absolutely love seeing them, talking to them, and being with them.
This week, I started my internship at JPL, one of my favorite places in the entire world. I am sure this will be the first of many letters that I will write to you. I can't wait to tell you more about my experiences in Pasadena as my summer continues.
With love, Clara
Aug. 5, 2012: Curiosity lands in Gale Crater. I watch from Earth, crying and shouting on the edge of my seat.
Sept. 27, 2012: Curiosity finds evidence of an ancient streambed. I play my third tennis match of the season, and share the rover's exciting discovery with my parents when I get home from school.
March 12, 2013: A rock sample analysis shows ancient Mars could have supported microbial life. I write about it in my chemistry assignment.
June 10, 2013: This is the first day of my internship at JPL, a day I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl. I don't know how I got to be so lucky.