We hear about organizations dealing with change for applications and hardware that are in data centers or in server farms in remote locations, but how about making changes to equipment that resides outside of Earth orbit… or on another planet entirely! Barbara Streiffert gets to deal with that reality as part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She deals with testing of the Mars Rover, among other initiatives. Talk about a risk averse environment!
So much of this talk was specific to information shown on video. She showed us details about the Dawn Spacecraft and Ion Propulsion… wow, talk about a unique test experience! How cool would it be to work on systems that control Ion Engines! For those not familiar with what an Ion Thruster is, instead of heating the gas up, xenon is introduced into the gas chamber, and the ionization that results causes thrust (that’s what I heard, I will not vouch that I got that right 😉 ). Fortunately, this talk was part of webCAST, so everyone can see the videos and details.
The Dawn spacecraft flyover of Ceres is being shown, and my inner third grader is totally spazzing out right now :).