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Colin Latimer-UAF Physics student

For physics student Colin Latimer, an internship at NASA was a no-brainer. “It's NASA, man. Of course I'm going to say yes to an internship at NASA,” he said. (For more of the story click on the photo)

Currently a junior at UAF, Latimer spent ten weeks last summer studying at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Latimer interned with Mission Operations, where he learned about the intensive process behind sending missions into space.

It’s important to start a mission off right, Latimer said. To begin a mission, you need to write requirements. “If you write good requirements - clear, concise, specific – [it] will greatly help the mission in terms of both staying within budget and staying on the original timeline,” he said. However, writing out the specific goals of a mission can be surprisingly difficult. If the requirements are less well written, then things can “get a little messier with differing interpretations and murky expectations of what needs to get done.”

Latimer had the opportunity to put his new knowledge to use. He was tasked with creating written requirements for a mission involving a robot. It turned out to be a difficult task. “I know very little about robotics, meaning I did large amounts of research,” he said.

While at Goddard, Latimer also has the chance to take tours and watch NASA technicians build the James Webb Space Telescope. “Everyone working there was really nice and incredibly smart,” he said. The telescope, which is considered the successor to the Hubble Telescope, is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

“The whole experience was incredible,” he said.