B a r b a r a  T h o m p s o n
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
March 9, 1999
Rockets Run on Email

    08:30 am: Getting ready to drive to work from my home in Bethesda, Maryland (about 20 miles west of Goddard Space Flight Center). I phone work to check my phone messages, and log in to check the email that has accumulated. I generally check for two different things: 1) People needing information or resources regarding the building of our rocket experiment, SERTS: 2) Messages which should be responded to as soon as possible. If there's nothing of that sort, I wait until I go to work to answer the messages.

08:55 am: I arrive at Goddard and immediately look up a phone number of an engineer I need to phone today. He arrives at work before 7:00 am, so I try to call him early in the morning. We will be sending off the telescope for testing in New York, and I have to arrange with him a time to test the telescope before we ship it. I phone another person who will be transporting the telescope up there-it's good to make sure that everything's on schedule, and double-check that people have clearly understood the schedule.

09:15 am: After coffee, I start to work through my e-mail messages. I can easily receive 100 messages in a day, but this is counting the "are you going to lunch soon?" messages. Most of them are work-related. Each message is from another scientist or an engineer who either has a request for me or who is responding to a request from me. By the time I look through my e-mail messages, most of the work for the day is apparent to me-sometimes it can take all day to respond to the requests of my peers!

09:45 am: Another solar scientist in England is helping a TV channel do a program on "space weather." I enjoy working on space weather, and I know people at Goddard who are very good at presenting that information. Last week I made a bunch of movies for a press release on solar eruptions, and I told him that I would contact the Goddard press office and get a copy of the video for the press release. The video contains a lot of data from SOHO and other solar observatories, as well as animations of the eruptions and descriptions. I also contact our "Media Specialist," Steele Hill, who is an expert at putting together videos showing solar phenomena. I ask Steele to make a "Best of SOHO Space Weather" video for the people in England.

I phone the scientist in England and ask him what kind of video format the TV station would like. Around the world, there are a lot of video formats, and the only thing that's certain is that none of them like VHS!

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