With my MDRS mission less than one month away, and since I’m currently on vacation from school, I finally have the time to finalize some purchases for my mission. As I mentioned previously, I’m buying a sleeping bag, mat, watch, plus some clothes to help cope with the cold temperatures. I’ve also started mentally preparing a To Pack list and have organized many of my clothes based on what will travel with me to the Hab. Things like long-sleeve shirts and sweatshirts will be the bulk of my clothes, plus some State things, sweatpants, and the essentials (socks, boxers, etc.). Thankfully I should be able to fit everything I need in one bag, plus some “luxury” items in my backpack, which will make my flights that much easier.
I’ve also lined up actually paying for the mission. Currently, our crew has a ChipIn! account set up, which you can access via our crew blog. That fund will help to mitigate our entire crew’s cost or, at the very least, pay for our mission patches once we order them. In any case, every dollar you donate there will make it that much easier for us. I’m not exactly sure if the donations are tax deductible, but I also didn’t set up the ChipIn! account so I’m not the best person to ask.
As for my portion of the crew fund, I received some good news: I’ve gotten a Matching Funds Grant through the Mars Society! Thus, they will be paying half of my fee, so I only have to dish out $500 for the trip. Pretty nice, right? One of the only things I need to do in return is give at least five talks over the course of the year after the mission about my experience. I already planned on attending the UURAF at MSU this coming spring to showcase my research, so now I only need four more. I’ll probably talk to the SPS officers about giving a presentation during one the meetings, as well as my old high school, Lyman Briggs, and some other close-to-home places. I may even take a road trip to some other colleges!
These talks shouldn’t be too bad. If any part of being a member of Lyman Briggs is more ingrained than verbal presentations, then I didn’t learn anything. Freshman year, I attended the UURAF to present on the dissipation of volatile elements during the aerogel capture process of NASA’s Stardust mission, gave presentations on hydroelectric power and the ecological properties of the Red Cedar River (specifically the effect of the duck population near the main Library), along with countless smaller presentations in class. I had to give a verbal presentation every few weeks as part of my Cystic Fibrosis research. I’ve been a Calculus LA for three semesters (my fourth will be this coming spring). I gave two long presentations on specific areas of climate change this past semester. I’m sure that there are a ton of others that I am forgetting, but the point is that five presentations will not be bad at all. Getting to them, however, might be a different story.
In other news, I have yet to send out some e-mails to The State News for a news story and a couple professors for reference letters for my internship applications. There’s been so much going on, especially the last few weeks, that everything has sort of molded together, but now that I have a chance to breathe, things should go a little more smoothly. I do only have a week before I’m back at school, with classes starting a week after that, so I need to get this stuff done soon.
But not before I eat.