Feasting at NMT

I know introductions are supposed to be eye-catching, intriguing statements or questions that captivate the reader’s attention, but I have the lethal combination of poor memory and a lack of writing skills, so this will have to suffice for the time being. Luckily, SSP has been intriguing enough that I won’t have to fill this blog post with rambling and poor anecdotes (I think…). 

It feels surreal to write this on the start of Week 3 of 5.5. Everything from determining when the vernal equinox enters Aquarius (in approximately 600 years if my calculations are to be believed) to observing at 3:00AM (9:00 UTC) seems oddly familiar. That being said, SSP feels both as though it began five days and five months ago.

I feel fairly confident in saying that there are some things that I will never get used to at SSP.

Although astrophysics is admittedly related to space, I feel as though being at SSP NMT shouldn’t equate to paralleling the diet of Mark Watney in The Martian. (Cool movie by the way. I really enjoyed watching it at movie night yesterday.) While I expected to learn new things at SSP, I can’t say I anticipated experiencing how many different ways potatoes could be cooked. While I haven’t developed a disdain for potato products (yet), I’m not sure how many more days I can go eating a combination of fries, hash browns, baked potatoes, etc. I do know that some here are having a feast everyday: the mosquitoes.

Coming from the East Coast I have certainly dealt with mosquitoes before. For some reason, I was under the impression that mosquitoes preferred staying around water and forests and therefore would not exist in abundance in a literal desert. Evidently, that assumption was incorrect. During the guest lecture this past Saturday, I saw at least four separate mosquitoes flying around INSIDE DURING THE DAY. The thing about mosquitoes at NMT is that they have no fear of anyone. Normally, when you swat at mosquitoes (at least in Virginia) they fly away (at least for a bit). Not in New Mexico. While walking to the computer lab an hour ago, I was pestered by a mosquito constantly buzzing around my head. The result of the pests: a plethora of mosquito bites. On my left hand I have three. On my left arm I have 4. Everyone here seems to have at least five bites (with the exception of maybe two or three lucky people). (Sidenote: I was really considering adding a photo of the bites, but I think it may be better if I didn’t).

On a more positive note, observations have gone well for my observing team. Given the fact that New Mexico is currently in monsoon season(???), having two successful observations seems like a win. As painful as observing past midnight sounds, it is actually rather fun. Conversing about everything from aliens to the Peppa Pig fanpage while looking at the Milky Way is surprisingly 

Our asteroid 2001 MZ7

On a mildly less positive note, though, I made the foolish decision to sign up for two blog posts in a row…Hopefully I can come up with something to write tomorrow.


Hi! My name is Alice and I am from Virginia. I enjoy history in addition to math and physics. Outside of academics I enjoy calligraphy and playing the flute.