Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mark at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

My name is Mark Johnson.  This is my second summer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I really enjoyed the internship last summer but wanted something more applicable to Mechanical Engineering. I receieved an internship through Gaj Birur, a thermal engineer that led us through a student tour of his lab last summer. So if looking for an internship, be sure to contact people directly who you are interested in working for.

I have calculated the refrigerant volume and surface area of the tubing in the Mars Science Laboratory Heat Rejection System. I used a 3D CAD program called NX and went through hundreds of part files to do this, and then created a "component group" that allows other users to open up the whole system on different computers.

I also did tests to determine the behavior of heat transfer fluids when cooled past their freezing point. I used a chiller running refrigerant to chill liquids with freezing points up to -60 degrees Celsius and liquid nitrogen at -180 deg. C for lower freezing points. Gas nitrogen was added to a closed container to keep the air inside the testing box moisture-free. A camcorder took video and it was shown in high speed to provide a visual observation of phase change.

My wife and daughter came down with me to Los Angeles and so during my time away from work I tried going to accesible tourist areas to show them LA. There is an amazing amount of stuff to do here, as long as you can stand the bumper to bumper traffic that occurs any hour of the day. We went to the following places:
  • Long Beach
  • Hollywood
  • Beverly Hills and Bel Air - including the Fresh Prince of Bel Air house
  • Griffith Observatory
  • Honduras Kitchen - honduras restaurant
  • Queen Mary - anchored 1930's cruise boat
  • Mountain Lakes resort
  • Pasadena City Hall - very ornate, very cool
  • Old Town Pasadena - older shopping area
  • South Pasadena Farmers Market
  • Hubble IMAX 3D at Pacific Science Center
  • Huntington Gardens
  • Taking Shae on a tour of JPL
  • Venice Beach and the pier
  • Union station
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
  • Getty Museum
  • In-N-Out Burger (Order "Animal Style") and other cool restaurants
  • Little Tokyo (Best Bento Box EVER!)
  • Diddy Riese's cookie ice cream sandwhich
  • The pleasant, uncrowded, beautiful passageways where I spent hours under calm meditation called THE LA FREEWAY SYSTEM!!!!
What an awesome time!

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