These past couple of weeks have been filled with all things CanMoon. The week leading up to CanMoon was packed full of little things I could do to help out and produce. The weekend before CanMoon started and trying to be proactive, I attempted to shift my sleeping schedule to one that would more match the schedule of a 4am-2pm workday. Dear Dialog, I sincerely hope you caught that use of “attempted“ because I tried and failed. I would wake up at around 4 am or so and I could stay up for a couple of hours but then I would eventually nod back off to sleep. I think if I had something to physically do it would’ve been easier to stay up the whole morning. But here we are, a week and a half into it, and I am doing alright anyway, sleeping-wise.
More to the point, it has been a really good experience so far! I think this type of mission control is something I could possibly make a career in. I like the process of discovery and subsequent analysis of the data in real time. I have heard about other simulation-like missions run by NASA but I need to look into it more.
My role of “Imaging and Remote Sensing Interpretation“ has turned out to be a fairly varied job! I work with ArcMap, ENVI, Photoshop, PowerPoint/Word, Agisoft, and an FTP Protocol, sometimes all at once! I have often played a central role in interpretation analysis and I have also already presented twice in front of everybody (not including all the times I chimed in or otherwise played a critical role in). A large part of my job was to annotate images with features of interest that we could try to analyze in some way. Another part of my job was to keep the traverse affairs in order on ArcMap. I also learned how to stretch an image and saturate it using Photoshop. I also attempted to make 3D models of some of the locations that were images using Agisoft, but was not able to complete a project unfortunately. One additional role I held was to use ENVI to analyze spectra coming in from the VisNIR instrument.
We have all been documenting our progress in our interpretations. The way I have been doing documenting progress is through versioning and being specific with document names.
A major focus of this mission was to strive to achieve the PHASR Heracles mission goals. These include: Finding mantle material, discovering volatile content, define the lithological chronology, and determine suitability for human exploration. As of the time of writing, I think we did a fairly decent job at most of the mission goals. We sampled what we determined to be xenoliths (possibly of mantle origin), analyzed glassy basalt (which could tell us about volatile content), and we took samples from multiple areas (hopefully giving us a general idea of the chronology).
Overall CanMoon was a great experience in terms of mission control, teamwork and producing measurable goals. There were definitely a fair number of hiccups throughout the process but I think because we were relatively prepared for a lot of slow-downs, it went alright, all things said and done. There is definitely room for improvement, such as being able to keep busy during periods of down time, and I would like to see that bettered in the future. Some of my main takeaways were about how important communications is between everyone. For example there needed to be good communication between your team members, between teams, between the team leads and between the various groups of Planning, Science, and Field. Additionally, I also noticed how collaborative and focused around teamwork a mission like this can be. 50 people all working towards a shared goal like this is not an easy task!
It was a great opportunity and I am glad I was able to participate in it! Another one may be happening in the coming years so I am looking forward to participating in that as well.