Research Updates | Summer 2020

This has not been the best of summers. Sure, I successfully completed my comprehensive exam, but beyond that, life has been tough. The pandemic began effecting us in March. It was another 6 months before I got to see my family again, the longest I’ve ever been away. Even that, was because my grandmother died. That was a very difficult experience made only worse by the pandemic. For a full discussion of that, I invite you to watch my Friday Reads for that week.

Nevertheless, we’ve all had it rough, and, as always, we manage. As the summer began I shifted focus to my comps, and it left me disheveled such that my routine fell apart. With it went my blog. I am here to summarize my research, and to bring us back into the routine of more regular updates. Of course, it is difficult to be specific about details months later, but I will do my best to summarize the last few months.

June

By June, the Remote Sensing class was over, but we had assignments to complete. I tried to complete one lab a week, but that fell apart after the first lab. I ended up spending a lot of time updating my proposal after getting feedback from Dr, Pratt. That involved creating a few new figures, but the biggest objective was to review the literature pertaining to the model and the fundamental approaches it uses. The need to complete this is, I think, what broke my routine of blogging and pomodoro.

Life became less about focused work about meeting deadlines. Luckily, I learned a lot in this process. I do regret that I never discussed the papers in my Science Paper blog post. I want to return to this, but it was hard to justify a deep dive in one paper when I needed to review so many so quickly. Nevertheless, I hope to review some of the material and present it in that post to 1) refer back to and 2) discuss with the lab.

July

In the end, I was very happy with the updates to the proposal. I sent it out to my committee very early into July. At this point, I had hoped to create a more structured studying approach, but I got overwhelmed with the labs for the Remote Sensing course. I quickly finished these and promptly moved on to the project. I was very frustrated with these labs. Although, I can’t complain much because I learned a lot of things in the process.

I dove into the project understanding things I had struggled to follow several years ago for my Titan crater mapping. It is in fact why I’ve steered away from using ArcGIS when possible, but I feel much more comfortable with it now. That helped me push through the project.

My project was to map craters on Pluto, take there depths, and relate the crater degradation to the N2 content in the craters. This was based on past research which suggested that N2 cycling will lead to 1) erosion and 2) relaxation. Sadly, I made a critical error when importing my data into MATLAB (where I took the depths and related it to the N2 content). I had separated pristine craters from degraded craters in my crater maps based on what the new Robbins et al. (2020) defined as pristine. When importing the crater data, I assigned the diameter and N2 content of the pristine craters to the degraded craters.

I believe this was a issue with sorting the data, so I patched the error and rushed to recalculate my results. In the end, I only processed the pristine craters. This severely limited my ability to analyze what was happening. I intend to completely redo my code after the project if the project was carried forward (it was).

SEction ofPluto overlain with craters mapped and N2 Content

In the final week or so leading up to my comps, I took time create flash cards. Essentially, I was reviewing the basics when it came to Titan. I had hoped to do this sooner, but it didn’t pan out. Luckily, the proposal process was a very good review, especially addressing Dr. Pratt’s suggestions. I didn’t review the note cards much, but the act of making them gave me a sufficient framework of what I needed to know. Obviously, I ended up passing with some recommendations (although these were minimal).

August

August began very well(ish). I was fresh off my exam, and let myself relax. I still did a bit of work each day the first week. Although, I didn’t stress too much about it. Things were complicated early on when my place flooded, again. A new emergency window in my basement unit wasn’t done right. It already required my floor needing replaced, and after it happened again, but worse, we had to speed up the process because of mold. I moved into an Airbnb (not at my expense). This lasted 2+ weeks, and made it hard to work.

Luckily, I was able to work from school for a bit. Most of my time was spent troubleshooting the code as I wanted to get it to work at higher concentrations. I ended up getting to work well enough. I don’t remember the other things I did, and I didn’t log it in Pomodoro at all. It doesn’t help that my grandmother died half way through. That ended up monopolizing the rest of my month. Again, see my Friday Reads for that week if you’re interested in a more personal discussion.

In the meantime, remember to check out my September updates.

My grandmother and I in 2014, Thanksgiving I think.

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