Student analyzes lunar images for Smithsonian air and space museum

Student analyzes lunar images for Smithsonian air and space museum

Katie Daud Katie Daud, a planetary studies and political science major, completed an internship during the summer of 2010 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies.

Daud helped the museum analyze and catalogue images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon.

CEPS is the scientific research unit of the Smithsonian that examines planetary science, terrestrial geophysics and processes data and images from satellites orbiting Earth and current space missions.

Finding this internship was not rocket science for Daud, of Easton, who visited the museum numerous times with her family and immediately fell for the fascination, technology and science surrounding aviation and spaceflight.

Daud was offered the highly competitive internship in April, having applied in February for one of the two CEPS intern positions.

Katie Daud The LRO is tasked with creating a complete atlas of the Moon and its features, so as to serve future Moon-bound missions with better information and technology.

Daud used images and data from the LRO to study the present and future geological activity of tectonic plates on the Moon, a big task that is helping scientists better understand our knowledge of planetary bodies.

Aside from her intern projects, Daud has discovered Washington, D.C., to be the perfect combination for future endeavors. It’s her goal to eventually work in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs and become involved with space policy.

“Ultimately, working with space policy would combine my passion for exploration and politics,” Daud says. “It would allow me to make a difference in the direction and outcome of our future in space.”