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OFJ Field Journal from Claudia Alexander - 11/9/95

REALITY ARRIVES AND PLAY-ACTING THE JOVIAN MAGNETOSPHERE

Part 1

It must have been November 9 when I was coming to work and somebody had out a sign on the door saying 28 days until Jupiter Arrival! I really felt a moment of epiphany when I saw that sign. I've been working for the project for 9 years (with a leave of absence in there somewhere to go back to school), and we had been working and waiting for this exciting moment all that time. I remembered the endless boring meetings, especially at the beginning when I didn't understand the technical aspect of what was going on and it was all rather distant. I remembered when I had been in school studying science and asking questions about the evolution of the moons of Jupiter, "why did this happen, why did that happen," and being told "we don't really know the answers but the Galilieo mission will be the time when we will really find out." And here we are, less than 30 days from entering our prime mission! It was a bit like moving into a house that you've planned on buying for years and years. I finally felt that, omigod, this is really going to happen!

Part 2

Jo and I agreed to help Annette, one of the PR coordinators, provide a demonstration of the Jovian magnetosphere to kids on November 9. We were very busy and stressed out keeping up with the tape recorder anomaly, assisting with the redesign of the mission if the tape had failed, worrying about the details of what sort of science we were going to get out of it, and keeping up with the progress of the design of the sequences that were underway, and I remember being very tired and irritable and thinking that the only reason I was going to do this was to help Jo. Jo and I sat in the conference room the day before and made ourselves laugh trying to practice the routine we were going to go through the next day with the kids, talking kiddie talk to an empty room. Jo has a kid and I don't, so it was easy for her. Then she went and wimped out on me the next day and I had to do it myself! [EDITOR'S NOTE: editor Jo feels compelled to step in here and point out that she was busy playing the role of "Jupiter" at a planetary press conference for 200 4th-7th graders, and that since the press conference ended up starting an hour behind schedule, she was unable to assist the author :-)] But it turned out to be fun to play with the kids, and I needed a good laugh by that time.

Part 3

I gave a talk to the Advisory Council for Women on November 20, with Carol, Leslie, and Rosaly. We were supposed to talk about what we expected to learn from the mission, and I was trying to make it a little fun and perk up the audience and demonstrated how my instrument worked by spinning around with my mouth open. I think the audience did enjoy it, but now certain people mimic me by spinning around with their mouths open when they pass me in the hallway.

 

 
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