• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights

The summer visit to Caltech is 4 days long and is the only time during the year of work when all the participants on the team come together in person to work intensively on the data. Generally, each educator may bring up to two students to the summer visit that are paid for by NITARP, and they may raise funds to bring two more. The teams work at Caltech; the summer visit typically includes a half-day tour of JPL, which is a favorite site for group photos. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The Dust Mights team came to visit in July 2019. The 4 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • I believe [this] was my students’ first experience of true intellectual work. And they loved it. On returning home, it was the first thing one of them told their parents about, right there in the airport next to baggage claim. It was also a topic of self-initiated conversation I overheard the kids talking about among themselves. In other words, NITARP gave them their first "braingasm," their first experience of amazing pleasure that comes after hard thinking. An essential experience at the heart of the intrinsic motivation that will carry these kids through their studies and professional lives. I can’t thank you enough for this.
  • [student:] The best part of the trip was just the full experience that it brought. Getting to sit in a room and feel like I was contributing something to humanity's knowledge was just so unique.
  • [student:] This completely changed my view of astronomy and astronomers because I had this unrealistic idea that they just sat in an observatory all day looking at planets and stars and wrote down what they found, published it, and called it a day.
  • [student:] The thing that surprised me most was how clear the picture was afterwards. I went into this barely even understanding what we were trying to do, and now I'm feeling confident in my knowledge of almost everything we talked about. It was super satisfying to just have everything click into place.
  • We had so much fun looking for interesting ways to parse the data to look for interesting subsets of our data to investigate. You could actually feel the excitement in the room.

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights