Event News

My Summer at NASA Live Web Chat Transcript
[Sep 24, 2009 2:30:13 PM PDT] Karen(P) The chatroom is now open. This is a moderated chat. Please stay on topic! If you have a question for a specific intern, please type "&[their User Name]" at the beginning of your question. It'd help us stay organized!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:31:16 PM PDT] smith(Q) How do some one apply for an intership at NASA?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:31:16 PM PDT] Karen(A) There's a great web page that lists all of NASA's internship and education project opportunities. There are more than 1000 summer intern slots alone available at NASA centers. Here's the URL, which is the best place to start: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/
[Sep 24, 2009 2:32:46 PM PDT] Danieljgio(C) What are your intended fields of study?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:33:34 PM PDT] orin(Q) Can you apply for an internship with ONLY a high school diploma, no college?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:33:34 PM PDT] Karen(A) You would need to look at the specific requirements for that internship opportunity.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:33:47 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) I'm studying Mechanical Engineering with an interest in Turbomachinery Analysis.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:33:53 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) Mine is Chemical Engineering.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:34:30 PM PDT] Karen(P) Hi, this is the moderator. A reminder that the Chat is to submit questions to our guests -- the five interns noted above.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:34:49 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I'm hoping to work in hypersonics. I'm applying to a couple graduate schools that get good NASA funding so I'm keeping NASA's goals close.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:34:58 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) I am a senior and graduate student in Mechanical Engineering
[Sep 24, 2009 2:36:11 PM PDT] Kendra(C) Eric - what was your favorite part about working at Dryden?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:37:21 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) My favorite part was passing two SR-71s on the way in, walking past a fleet of F-18s and F-15s on the way into my office, and knowing that the coolest airplane at the base was the one I got to help fly later that day, the X-48B
[Sep 24, 2009 2:38:05 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [to Danieljgio] I am a grad student at Caltech and my research invovles dynamic behavior of materials.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:38:40 PM PDT] Jerrod(C) Greg - you should visit Texas A&M: http://hypersonics.tamu.edu/
[Sep 24, 2009 2:39:22 PM PDT] andresotondo(Q) Hi, is there any chance to do this if you are not an american student?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:39:22 PM PDT] Karen(A) Each program has its own requirement. Look at the specific program.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:39:29 PM PDT] Danieljgio(C) How long was the internship program?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:40:04 PM PDT] smith(C) Hi Reid/Emily how do you feel about NASA intership?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:40:45 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) The internship period lasted 10 weeks.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:40:51 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) The NASA scholarship program internship was 10 weeks long.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:40:56 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) My intership was 10 weeks long. June 1 to August 7
[Sep 24, 2009 2:41:16 PM PDT] meredith(C) I interned at Ames this summer! Saw this chat was happening, felt like coming in.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:41:21 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) Jerrod, I'm flying down there in November to meet with the professors. They have great facilities, I'm very excited.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:42:12 PM PDT] samiahm(C) To all: What do you think was the deciding factor to your admittance to these various internships? (i.e. What made you stand out from the rest of the applicants?)
[Sep 24, 2009 2:43:23 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) This was definitely the best experience I've ever had. It was a great opportunity to get practical research experience and the networking that I was able to do was better than I could have ever expected!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:43:28 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) Even though my internship was 8 weeks, I am still collaborating with the hypersonics group at Ames.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:43:33 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) It was 10 weeks, but I wish it could've been longer!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:43:37 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [to smith] I felt like the the internship really opened my eyes to what everyone at NASA was working on, and where we plan to go from here. I was excited to work on materials that may potentially be used in future airplanes or space crafts.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:43:40 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) Passion for the field of study. I had been studying the X-48B and Blended Wing Bodies since freshman year. Then I got to work on it.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:44:21 PM PDT] orin(C) Leslie- dealing with hypervelocity impacts must be pretty fun. Are you testing here on earth or observing impacts in space?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:45:14 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) I often wonder why I deserved this fellowship - I think that my passion for aeronautics combined with my research interests that aligned with NASA's mission directorates really made my proposal stand out.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:45:18 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) I am testing here on earth : ) I use a 2-stage light gas gun for tests. We shoot from about 1-10 km/s- keep in mind average orbital debris is closer to 10 km/s!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:45:31 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [to samiahm] I think that my research at my university with nanotechnology and carbon nanotubes was the deciding factor in my admittance to my internship. Good recommendations from professors helped, I'm sure.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:45:34 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I think the deciding factor was really putting a lot of time into the application. Like Eric said, passion for the field comes out in your application - they'll be able to tell how much effort you've put in.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:45:56 PM PDT] Tango(C) {GregLangley, Reid Langley} What where some of the activities that were planned in your program, outside of your research project?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:47:28 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [to samiahm] Obviously, participation in a breadth of activities is probably extremely helpful. I would guess they're interested in a well-rounded student. Aside from that, though, the personal statement regarding your research interests and the research relating to your essay is probably very important as well.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:47:32 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) There were a number of opportunities to take tours of the facilities on site, play in a softball league at the center, they sponsored trips to baseball games and such, and all of the interns formed a really fantastic social group!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:48:04 PM PDT] Mil(C) From your experience at Nasa, who would you say has the most rewarding/toughest job?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:48:49 PM PDT] GregLangley(Q) Langley did a great job with providing opportunities for interns outside of our work. Taking a tour of the various wind tunnels on the center was a great experience.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:48:49 PM PDT] Karen(A) FYI this if for "Tango"'s question.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:49:45 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) Also, Langley is in a great area for recreation outside of campus - the beach is very close so that was a very popular spot for all of us :)
[Sep 24, 2009 2:50:24 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [Mil] I think everyone contributes to NASA in important and different ways- but all are satifying. The engineers who are in the "trenches" doing the number crunching, to the managers who have to make tough calls on funding and projects, to even the support staff making everything run smoothly- it really is an amazing site to see and everyone has a passion for science and exploration.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:50:28 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) I think it depends on how you think about it. Astronauts go through a lot of training, but get rewarded when they are able to go to space. The researchers work hard trying to make a discovery, and get rewarded when they finally do. Does this answer your question, Mil?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:50:33 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) I second Greg's statement about the beach! It was sooo nice to be able to relax on the beach during weekends or after workdays!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:51:11 PM PDT] Mil(C) Thank you :)
[Sep 24, 2009 2:51:15 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) Which is 180 degrees to Dryden, which is in the middle of the desert. But all of the really cool new aircraft testing happens there. So choose your location wisely.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:51:46 PM PDT] atomictown(C) To the engineering students, what mathematics courses or topics prepared you the most for your internship?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:53:18 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I agree with Emily and Leslie - everyone who works at NASA plays a crucial role. They are certainly very different roles, but NASA wouldn't be able to function without each and every one of them.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:54:11 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) Obviously a strong math base is necessary for any NASA job- for my research, it was also very helpful to have a strong structures background as well as a strong hold on aerodynamics concepts.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:54:14 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) I was working a lot with physics and diffraction patterns of sound waves; so I guess physics was a good tool. I was working entirely with MATLAB throughout the entire summer, though, so my knowledge of that was EXTREMELY helpful to my research.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:54:24 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [atomictown] For my work, partial differential equations (wave equation) - but Caltech really pounds you hard with the mathematics and I feel it's important to be able to derive things from first principles, and that starts really with basic equations no matter what topic you chose to pursue.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:54:57 PM PDT] jake(Q) Wondering if any of you recorded video of your projects and posted online to share with us?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:56:19 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) I think that my chemistry (general, organic, and physical) helped quite a bit. In addition, my heat transfer and material and energy balances classes helped.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:56:29 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) Sorry, most of my work was done in the labs/under a microscope.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:57:11 PM PDT] Karen(P) Just a reminder this is a moderated chat room; greetings and "hello's" won't get posted!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:57:28 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I recorded some video of some preliminary thrust tests - I'd be more than willing to share them with you. Karen how would you suggest we do that?
[Sep 24, 2009 2:59:13 PM PDT] ReidLangley(Q) [jake] Unfortunately, I didn't record any video, but if you link from this page to the news article about Eric, Greg, and I, you'll be able to link to some weblogs that Greg and I wrote for our university. We chronicled our experiences at least once a week, so you should be able to get a good feel for what we did!
[Sep 24, 2009 2:59:13 PM PDT] Karen(A) The URL to the article Reid referrs to is: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/summer_at_nasa.html Oh, and for Greg's question, we could post on NASA' s Facebook page. Let's talk after the chat. If we do that, we'll link to that from this chat page so you all can see them.
[Sep 24, 2009 2:59:27 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) I have some high-speed videos of hypervelocity impact tests, maybe Karen/Tony to post them somewhere for interested folks?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:00:31 PM PDT] Karen(P) We'll see what we can put together. Just check back to this page and/or the "My Summer at NASA" feature.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:00:50 PM PDT] KelcyNoelleBrunnerfromSD(C) Reid and Greg--talk about your opportunities to visit NASA HQ!
[Sep 24, 2009 3:01:28 PM PDT] meredith(Q) Are you guys NASA Student Ambassadors? How did you get this gig?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:02:11 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I also have some footage of my wing spar failing during testing, which is pretty cool.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:02:18 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) Unfortunately, at Dryden, photography and videography is restricted outside due to the nature of being on an Air Force Base. For security purposes, the Air Force does not allow any pictures or video to be recorded outside. Most of my work dealt with the X-48B in flight. So unfortunately, there is no footage that can be released without great amounts of work to get it cleared.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:03:06 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [to meredith] I applied to the NASA Aeronautical Scholarship Program and received this internship.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:03:11 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [Kelcy] Greg and I went to listen to a speech given by Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator of Aeronautics Research and, after some correspondence, were able to arrange a trip to HQ. The experience was absolutely fantastic and we were able to meet all of the administrators, as well as the program directors. More information is given in my weblog!
[Sep 24, 2009 3:03:15 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [meredith] Nope, I'm not a student amabassador. I just applied for the NASA Aeronautics Scholarship last year and was fortunate enough to be chosen. It includes the opportunity to have a summer internship at a NASA facility that is optional, but we all decided to take that option.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:04:24 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) Kelcy: Wow where to start?! Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) came to Langley to talk, we introduced ourselves, and he invited Reid and I to spend a couple days at NASA HQ with him. There, we met General Bolden, newly appointed leader of NASA, as well as all of the higher-ups at ARMD. It was truly the two most valuable days of my engineering career so far.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:05:13 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) Reid reminded me, you can find pictures and information about our experiences on our blogs, which you can link to through the "My summer at NASA" story.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:05:39 PM PDT] Tony(Q) All what type of equiptment did you get to use while you were at NASA
[Sep 24, 2009 3:08:17 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [Tony] I got to use various furnaces, as well as Field Emission Scanning Electron Microcsopes (FESEM), Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM), Thermal Gravametric Analysis (TGA), and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD).
[Sep 24, 2009 3:08:20 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [Tony] I was working with an ultrasonic water tank bridge scanner and a Schileren imaging system (which let me actually visualize the sound waves emitted by my transducers!). It was really cool to work directly with the LabView VIs and one-of-a-kind programs that were written in-house specifically for the instruments I was using.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:08:24 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) I got to experience the arc jet testing facility (plasma pulses on TPS materials), two-stage light gas gun, SEM, laser scanners, and watched composites being made with nanoparticles right on site. The facility and experimental resources at AMES really surprised and impressed me.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:08:41 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) I got to use a great telemetry system for my plane - it provided real time data on airspeed, RPM, g-forces, motor temperature, etc. That was a lot of fun to use. I also used the basic static load measuring devices (for thrust tests, strain gauge calibrations, etc.).
[Sep 24, 2009 3:10:23 PM PDT] ing.james(Q) Hello!! My name is James... i am a US Citizen in costa Rica... i plan to study aeronautical engineering .... Could i enter the program ?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:10:23 PM PDT] Karen(A) -- and a response from the Moderator. James, hi. Our guests were able to intern because they are NASA aeronautics scholarship recipients. You can apply for the scholarship as U.S. citizen and if you study at an accredited U.S. university. All details are at the Web site. Application period is now open: http://nasa.asee.org
[Sep 24, 2009 3:10:48 PM PDT] Gabrielle(C) [to all] What was the most surprising thing you learnt about NASA during your internship?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:12:32 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) The most surprising thing was how accessible it is. To engineers, NASA sometimes takes on the aura of being such a far-out goal, but the reality is, if you really push yourself and try hard enough, earning a place at NASA is very possible (and highly recommended!)
[Sep 24, 2009 3:12:36 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) I guess I really didn't understand how many researchers and contract researchers actually worked at NASA. Also, I did not know that NASA was involved in many more programs than just exploring space.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:13:30 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [Gabrielle] I was really impressed by the sheer immensity of the wind tunnels and the systems that run them. The motors that run them size up to 60,000 hp and the wind tunnels have the capabilities to run for hours, days, or even months non-stop!
[Sep 24, 2009 3:13:34 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) I thought there were going to be an army of engineers in hypersonics at AMES with the amount of work they put out, and all the novel composities and material testing they are pursing. I was most surprised when I got there and found that it was a task force of only about 20 engineers and material scientists. These people are so amazing and love their work so much that they produce more than I ever imagined.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:13:37 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) Really how diverse NASA is. Each center has its own atmosphere and workplace feel. The diversity of the research that goes on across NASA is, well to be honest, fascinating. I was unaware of all the really cool things happening at once.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:15:22 PM PDT] Tango(Q) [All] What can you tell us about some of the people you met while interning?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:17:37 PM PDT] Chris_L_A(Q) Hello EmilyGlenn, what uses do you see cnt's playing? As a conductor of heat, bonding repair, or strengthening of materials...and could it be used for future space missions?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:17:37 PM PDT] Karen(A) New Question (we'll do a couple at a time so our guests can respond, since we have about 10 minutes to go).
[Sep 24, 2009 3:18:05 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [Tango] I was able to meet some fantastic friends and people that I'm sure I'll stay friends with for years down the road. It will be really neat to go to a conference or something in the future and be able to reconnect with these people. I even met a girl during my experience at Langley! ;-)
[Sep 24, 2009 3:18:09 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) The people at NASA are just as smart as you think they'd be. They really are the best of the best and they're there for a reason. Even at the management level - when I went to HQ it was not just political appointees. Those people at HQ had done their time as engineers and worked their way up into positions where they could change the way NASA runs on a larger scale. The people I met there were very inspiring and I can't thank them enough for this opportunity.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:18:13 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) To be quite honest, most of the experienced employees at NASA have a lot of good stories to tell. There are so many good stories about people I knew and met at NASA, I simple cannot go on about all of them. But what I can say is that in the middle of the day, people would just gather spontaneously and talk about completed unrelated, but awesome, technical research occuring either somewhere else in NASA or somewhere else in the world.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:18:19 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) I met some of the top researchers at NASA in the nanotechology field. I was also able to meet astronauts and listen to different talks about their experience.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:19:58 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [Tango] Everyone I met as an intern was very open and willing to discuss research and take the time to answer any questions I had. I could literally just walk right into an office or cubical without hesitation. Specifically in hypersonics, I met material scientists that understood engineering macroscopic structural issues and engineers who understood material science microscopic issues- I think that's why they were such a powerhouse group of people- they listened, asked questions, and were all about discussions that lead to new places on current aero challenges.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:21:01 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) To second with Reid said, it is important to connect with the employees there, but even more so it is important to build connections with your peers. It will be your peers who you go to for advice once you're working. I met such a fantastic group of interns at Langley - that group will surely do very well and I can't wait to see all of them again.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:21:15 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [Chris_L_A] I see CNTs being used in all fields from electrical to biomedical. Nanotubes of different compositions are also being formulated, such as SiCNTs. These are able to withstand much higher temperatures than CNTs. They may be able to be used in ceramics as a composite for space flight.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:22:28 PM PDT] Smith5se(Q) For your work focus, was that a project chosen by you or by NASA upon your selection into the internship program?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:23:34 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [Smith5se] I was asked what I was interested in, and they matched me up with an mentor with the same research interests.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:24:13 PM PDT] Tango(Q) [GregLangley] Could you elaborate on your work, it sound's up my alley, really intense. What exactly would a thrust test entail?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:24:43 PM PDT] EricDryden(C) When NASA saw my research with Blended Wing Bodies, they chose to put me on the X-48B project, which I was more than happy to accept
[Sep 24, 2009 3:24:46 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) My project was chosen by my NASA advisor. I had written about hypersonics on my application, but got placed in a different area. I still very much enjoyed my project though, and any job at NASA is sure to be interesting and rewarding.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:24:49 PM PDT] ReidLangley(C) [Smith5se] My project was a topic that my mentor has wanted to address since he arrived at Langley in 1985. It was really exciting to be able to finally work on a project that he's dreamed about for so long. Plus, it was really exciting for me to be able to say that everything completed on my project was started and finished by me; I wasn't simply putting 10 weeks of work into a project that had already been going on for 5 years. I did everything related to my research!
[Sep 24, 2009 3:24:52 PM PDT] LeslieAmes(C) [Smith5se] In my case, the fellowship folks tried to pair me up with a NASA site and group that aligned with my thesis research- which was great! Then I appreciated that the group I was assigned to was very flexible and wanted to come up with a specific summer "project" that would benefit both of us. I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome, and we're hoping to get a paper published in a few months from our work.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:26:49 PM PDT] KelcyNoelleBrunnerfromSD(Q) Emily, I'm a chem major and a few summers ago researched in nanoscale catalysis. What did your project involve and for what application? Did this modify your intentions for grad school or research interests?
[Sep 24, 2009 3:27:29 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) [Tango] Well the plane I worked with was an aerobatic model plane that originally had a gas engine in it. We replace that with two electric motors, and so to properly estimate flight time and capability, we did some thrust tests at varying RPM and battery levels. It provided crucial flight data that we could correlate with the damage scenarios in order to devise some damage mitigation techniques.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:28:39 PM PDT] GregLangley(C) [Tango] The plane had an 8 foot wingspan so it was surely a sight to see it running at full power inside the hangar
[Sep 24, 2009 3:32:09 PM PDT] EmilyGlenn(C) [KelcyNoelleBrunnerfrom SD] My project involved converting CNTs to SiCNTs, and then purifying these nanotubes. There were excess Si and CNTs in the mixture that had to be removed. In addition, I worked on dispersing CNTs in Al powder to create aluminum composites. In the future they plan to use SiCNTs with other metals (such as Ti) and ceramics. They also plan on useing Boron Nitride Nanotubes for composite applications as well.
[Sep 24, 2009 3:31:35 PM PDT] Karen(P) Hi everyone. Our time's up. Thanks to our guests and to our audience! A transcript will be posted here tomorrow. Remember to visit http://nasa.asee.org for scholarship info. These students interned because they applied for, and received, a NASA Aeronautics Scholarship. Thanks again for your interest.
Karen Rugg
NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate