A Grasp on Inspiration

After a tolling week full of dehydration, altitude sickness, and subsequent stress over the problem sets I missed in my dazed, faint absence, I have triumphed in surviving yet another week as an NMT SSPer. As with most victories, the NMT 2022 cohort celebrated our many achievements with a back-to-back field trip and guest lecture—as well as two new problem sets, of course. 

Yesterday, we took a twelve-hour trip to White Sands National Park: a 145,762-acre span of pure white gypsum crystal sand dunes within the Tularosa Basin. As someone who rarely sees sunlight—yes, even before becoming an SSPer—the views were invigorating! In fact, the sights and experience of sledding down said dunes were captivating enough to distract me from my pounding headache (hydration is crucial).

The lovely dunes in question.

This morning, the NMT SSP had the honor of attending a guest lecture led by Dr. Kelly Fast, who offered insight into professional orbital determinations and deflections. In covering topics such as existing/upcoming near-Earth surveying devices, the future of asteroid orbital determinations, the chronology of tracking an asteroid in quasi-real-time, and a plethora of other fascinating undertakings, we left for our lunch break with a firm grasp on inspiration. To say the very least, and I feel I speak for my peers and myself alike, Dr. Fast reinvigorated our enthusiasm regarding our own orbital determinations, reminding us that we are contributing to a global effort in science: developing an understanding of what lies beyond our atmosphere.

These are some fantastic stickers we received after today’s guest lecture.

I’d like to formally thank Dr. Fast and her team for visiting us today. Additionally, I’d like to thank Dr. Fast for finally giving us a clear answer on what the difference between a meteoroid and asteroid is… I’ve been searching fervently. We appreciate your time and teachings!

At this point in the program, I feel I have been academically challenged beyond my limits, pushing past my comforts and into a new realm of curiosity. In just a few short weeks, I have gained what seems like years of worldly, social, and scientific experience. Thus, I cannot wait to see what the rest of SSP NMT 2022 has to offer! 

About Me: Hello! My name is Lucinda D and I’m a rising senior at Amundsen High School in Chicago, Illinois. I am an avid researcher, gamer B), and artist who just so happens to be infatuated with spatial applications. Shoutout to the Amundsen Academic Decathlon, Engineering, and Debate teams!