During my freshman year at Mines I was a varsity track and field athlete. While I am no longer able to compete due to injuries, I enjoy running in my free time. Every evening, as the sun starts to set behind the trees, I run laps around the 305-meter-diameter primary reflector. I often use this time to analyze the dish and reflect on the work I have done here so far. I have included many close-up images of the area near and below the dish’s surface.
I suppose a lot of my time here so far has been spent running in circles, literally and with my project. After four weeks, I can appreciate why no one has ever been able to design a rover to clean the world’s largest telescope reflector without damaging the sensitive panel material, using harmful chemicals or weighing more than 100 pounds. In addition, the rover must remove grease and microorganisms from over 160,000 square meters of material in a reasonable time frame. It is certainly a difficult project and I am enjoying the challenge.
The weekend adventures continue here on the island. This past Sunday I went hiking and swimming along the Tanama River. This river carves through the island, creating beautiful canyons and caves. During our tour we visited five massive caves and even swam through an enclosed cave that was about 300 meters long! Whenever we have free time we make our way to one of the nearby beaches. Whether you are interested in snorkeling, surfing, swimming or lying in the sun, a good beach for each activity is just a short drive away. The beauty and adventures on this island never cease to amaze me.