A new year.

Its been a busy start back this year. I got back a couple weeks ago, but friends wanted to go skiing, and I figured I couldn’t pass up skiing at least once while in Canada, and I loved it. It was a lot of fun. I also feel like I improved a lot (which isn’t hard as I had no idea what I was doing).

But not long after getting back, I had to prepare for the Gordon Research Conference on the Origins of Life. But before that, I got to go to a friends wedding in Philly. It was my first time there so it was an amazing experience getting to explore one of the most historic parts of America along with a number of museums (including the Franklin Institute as seen in the cover photo to this post). All in all it was a great experience, and the wedding was awesome and a lot of fun.

I missed the first couple sessions of the conference, which was disappointing, but I quickly got into the swing of things. Needless to say, this isn’t my field of expertise, and this is a very specific field. That said, it is closely related to the field of astrobiology, so I recognize how important it is. It’s also just one of the most interesting scientific endeavors going on today. It was a very informative and fun experience. Although I struggled to follow along a lot of the time, I feel like I left with a better understanding of the field and with a better appreciation for some of what I thought I already knew.

I would have to say the best part for learning was the poster session. I didn’t get to look at as many posters as I would have liked, but the few that I did get to see helped me understand, at the least, the basic principles better. I could probably tell you what most of them did but only because I was able to discuss it with the presenter in detail. The poster session was great for more than just this. It was a great way to meet and network with people in the field.

That leads me to probably the best part of the meeting. It was by no means the smallest meeting I’ve ever been to, but the way the meeting was set up made it a great opportunity for networking. From the communal breakfast, lunch and dinners to the poster session and end of day social. Eating with everyone made it hard not to force yourself into a situation where at the very least its only polite to talk. Then over time I got more comfortable and became more talkative (it also helped after Catherine wasn’t there to sit and talk with 🙂 ). I think it was Tuesday when I found out that there even was a social where we snacked, drank and talked. By thursday night, most of the grad students where all together in the lobby playing Cards against humanity. I found out that there was a large population of Ga Tech students I never even knew.

Oh and did I mention we made a visit to Johnson Space Center?

All in all it was a great experience educationally and socially, and I look forward to seeing everyone again during AbsGradCon. I’m not sure whose able to go to this, but maybe everyone in the group whose interested?

Research wise, its getting down to crunch time. Now that I’ve essentially got the process down, it’s a matter of perfecting my mosaic and finalizing my crater list. The preliminary work is done for most craters with topography. There may be one or two that need a bit more work, and analysis still needs to be done compared to stereo data.

So, I’ve started by creating a low resolution (32ppd) version of all my highest resolution files (256ppd and 123ppd) to sort through them all in arc to perfect the order to make sure the best images are on top. I am a little worried that lowering the resolution may make it hard to compare, but I think quality issues has to do with more than just the type of resolution used. Otherwise, the process gets harder because I only have so much storage on my laptop, and comparing files in qview or just by making picture files would be more difficult.

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