Music provided by Killer Tracks: "Nature Exploration" – Laurent Dury "On the Plate" – Daniel Pemberton
Each year in early March, a new class of postdocs at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center gathers for the Planetary Science Winter School. This intensive training program takes the young scientists and plunges them into the Instrument Design Lab, to see first-hand what it takes to pitch an instrument that could one day fly in space.
The goal of the Winter School is to design and submit a real proposal for an instrument that will gather scientific data at another planet. As the students learn, however, it's not enough just to ask questions of scientific interest – their proposal must also meet strict engineering constraints on the instrument's mass, power, volume, and even budget. Veteran engineers from the Instrument Design Lab mentor the students throughout the weeklong course, helping to school them in the real-world challenges of planetary science.