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Abigail Calzada - Ready for the Goddard Challenge
08.21.12
 
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BY INTERN ABOUT INTERN EDITION



After traveling, living for a time in the UK and the Netherlands, and learning English, Abigail Calzada was ready for her next challenge, spending her summer at Goddard doing mapping and planning for future scientific work on the moon.


Name: Abigail Calzada
Age: 28
Hometown: Avilés, North of Spain. Currently lives in France, where she is pursuing her masters at the International Space University
Position: Geologist, Summer Intern
Code: 698, Planetary Geodynamics Lab

What project are you working on at Goddard?


I am working on a research project entitled “Scientific Characterization of Lunar Regions of Interest: Preparation for NASA’s return to the Moon” headed by Dr. Scott Mest. Its goal is to evaluate 50 regions of interest identified by NASA’s Constellation Program Office with high value for NASA’s preparation to return to the Moon. The region I’m working on is Mare Moscoviense on the far side. What I do is choose one of the points of interest, map, and plan travels for future scientific work on the moon.

What activities are you most excited about at Goddard?


Photo of Abigail Calzada› Larger image
Photo of Abigail Calzada. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Becky Strauss
I am really excited about my job here, but what I like most are the events relating to space, as, for example, the Venus Transit and the MARS Science Laboratory landing.

What makes Goddard a great place to work?


Many things. I like the environment because it is full of interesting and nice people and it’s quite relaxed. Goddard is pretty big. You can find people from many places and backgrounds and that’s really interesting. Every week there are lots of events, seminars and other things to do here.

Is there any exciting experience that you would like to highlight?


I, along with with other International Space Students currently doing their internships at NASA Ames, was invited to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During our visit they showed us a full-scale model of Curiosity Rover, the clean laboratories with the engineering model of Curiosity with the full-scale, engineering model of Curiosity, Rover's twin brother which is used to test rover's performance. The experience at JPL was great. I had seen pictures and videos of Curiosity before going there, but once I saw the full-scale model I realized its size and complexity. The visit to JPL and the opportunity to meet some people who worked on the project increased my anticipation of the MSL landing.

Abigail at the Goddard Visitor Center› Larger image
Abigail having fun with the plasma globe at the Goddard Visitor Center. Credit: A. Calzada

What lessons or words of wisdom would you pass along to somebody just starting their internship or coop at Goddard?


I will say that they should enjoy the experience here and also to try to meet people and create a good network. Plus, enjoy being here because it’s really cool.

What mistakes have you made? What have you learned from them?


When I started my University career I didn’t work too hard. Now I look back and I say, “Oh, I should have worked harder,” but it was not a complete mistake because during the years I traveled and went to
the UK, I learned English, so it was not wasted time really. It was a mistake to leave the University, but later I went back.

Give me the names of three famous people you admire and tell me what you admire about them.


I admire a lot of important scientists, especially the ancient scientists that had neither the instruments nor the facilities we have now and they were able to use their imagination to reach the truth or at least to go on the path to reach the truth. I admire people who work for what they want and are not afraid of trying; people who follow their dreams and make them come true.

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Grace S. Montalvo De Leon
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.