Art created with satellite camera, REU 2020
Cici Mao (MIT) Sky-cam art made with camera destined for use on AERO-VISTA satellites

Undergraduates succeed in remote internships

August 28, 2020
Categories: Astronomy , Geodesy , Geospace , Space Technology
This year's summer undergraduate interns adapted to the challenge of doing research from home.

MIT Haystack Observatory has offered hands-on summer research internships to undergraduate students for decades, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other sponsors. In a normal year, this program brings students from around the nation—and beyond—to Westford and the Haystack offices, with local housing and transportation provided.

This year, the “hands-on” part included the extra challenge of remote participation, for the first time. Initially, program leaders were concerned about being able to provide students with the full research experience. During presentations at the end of the summer, Haystack mentors and other staff members were pleased to see the extensive research results and software development that is normally produced over the course of the internship programs.

Haystack undergraduate interns from the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program and MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) presented their research results to a virtual audience from across the observatory at the end of August (slides will be posted in September). Projects ranged from Small Radio Telescope (SRT) interface development to CubeSat tools and hardware for the AERO-VISTA auroral satellites, along with many others.

REU student researchers got creative with their research, which had to be done remotely in 2020
REU students completed research and engineering projects from home; shown here is a satellite camera demo (photo: Cici Mao)