> > > 8-month mission on "Mars": Pinches and Sound bites!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pinches and Sound bites!

My granddad, aka Papa, comes from Irish heritage.  In good humor,  after something unfortunate happens, I've heard him cynically say, "Well that's the luck of the Irish!" Despite not finding many four-leaf clovers or pots of gold, the Dunn family has made some lasting St. Paddy's day memories. So yesterday, I was proudly wearing my green on "Mars" to celebrate, but other crewmembers were not so festive.. I had to resort to a bit of pinching!  It reminded me of elementary school, which is fitting because I've been working a lot lately on preparing outreach presentations for K12 schools, as well as research institutes.

As part of the preparation, I’ve thought back on TED talks, the gold standard for science communication.  In TED talks, the message is always crisp and clear, delivered in a carefully-woven storyline that is both interesting and relevant to society. It seems that the merit of science communication can be judged by how clearly and succinctly one can explain research findings and why they matter.  This weekend, it was excruciatingly difficult to pick and choose what to include in a 3-min video explaining the scope and relevance of my research.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for the TED speakers who condense an entire research career into one 15-min talk!

To share this “Mars” experience, I need to effectively reduce eight months of dome life into the sound bite of a 3-min, 15-min, or even 30-min talk.  Now I’m realizing that this 8-month mission in itself is just a sound bite in contrast to a real Mars mission.  It will take eight months just to travel to Mars!  The story of our crew is like the abridged version of a book that has yet to be written on the challenges of living and working in a Mars habitat environment.

A quick overview on other upcoming outreach!  Last night, we took some video footage of our sushi meal (well, instead of fresh fish, we used canned albacore to make spicy tuna rolls) as part of our outreach with students in Japan. Recently, we’ve been working on a comic book for explaining the combination of educational backgrounds, talents, and personalities required for a successful Mars crew (this is still a work in progress, nerdy superpower ideas are welcome!)  And today, we will put together a tour of our habitat for all to see on YouTube sometime soon!  Please contact me if you're interested in collaborating on outreach with your local schools! (joceydunn2@gmail.com)

Well, it seems that everyone had exciting weekends, so I'll share a bit about our epic Pi day celebration!!  I even had to make an exception to my Lenten promise of no desserts, because of the special centennial Pi Day this year (3/14/15 9:26:53), just had to participate, also it was the first sunny day in two weeks! 

In celebration of Pi day: French Silk, Pecan-Apple, and Pizza Pies!!

Now that we actually have enough solar power to run the treadmill (yay for sunshine!) I’m catching up on my mileage (current total 25 miles in 28 days of Lent!) slowly running off the pies.. at least there's good sugar in my Irish blood!

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