I met a young doctor who used to work with me recently. I had just completed my night rounds in the hospital and I was leaving for home.
And then I saw him. He was unkempt, exhausted and appeared famished. Worst of all, he looked like a man who has totally given up on being a doctor. He appeared hesitant when I asked him what was wrong,but I could not just leave him there.
After much persuasion and insistence on my part he agreed to join me for a late supper. While he ravaged through his first proper meal of the day, he finally opened up. He has started working for the past week in a new speciality. Though the hours are longer, it was not an issue. He was well aware of the sacrifices he was expected to make.
However, the degradation, humiliation and constant harassment have finally taken…
My exams began on the 21st of December and ended on the 26th, a day after Christmas. For Christmas, I received a little stand-up makeup mirror, with a little container as its base to to place a tiny number of makeup items. I don’t have a lot, so I filled it with just my 3 nail polishes that each cost only about RM5 from Shopee, and a few of my mom’s lipsticks she gave me. I am quite a simple person; little things like these are enough to make me happy.
The edges of the mirror even has a light. You just touch the mirror itself and the edges light up! Cool.
On the 21st of December I sat for Math. My math is a little weak, and I did not really like the chapters we were studying for math in the 2nd semester (we study different chapters of math in all the 3 semesters), so I’m not sure how I did. I had reviewed all my lectures, but not done enough tutorials and did not do any past years, so I must admit that I did not practice enough. I have resolved to do much more practice for the math course in my 3rd semester. There were quite a few questions that I did not know how to do, so I definitely did not do as well as the other courses. (At university, we do not call subjects as “subjects” but rather “courses”. This is because three courses, such as Math I, Math II and Math III are all under the Math subject, but are separate courses).
On the 22nd of December, I sat for Communication Skills. I watched some debates on Youtube, and a video with very simple English on conversations at a workplace, just to get my mind set for writing dialogues. Eventually, though, I did not write a dialogue, I wrote 5 really short stories on cultural interactions, which was pretty fun, since I based many of it on my personal experiences. In the hours before my exam, I perused all m lecture notes at top speed and made handwritten summaries on them.
On the 24th of December, I sat for Inorganic Chemistry. Since it was an open book test, I made a handmade content page to make referring to my printed lecture notes easier. I had gone through most of the lecture notes in the week before the exam. Since there was a one day break between communication skills and chemistry, I used it to read all of my tutorial answers and a past year paper that our lecturer mentioned would be similar to our final assessment this semester. For Chemistry, all answers must be handwritten, so everything was rather rushed, but I still completed everything in record time and I believe I did well.
On the 26th of December, a Saturday, I sat for my last paper, Modern Biology. Modern Biology is the most interesting course this semester. So far, all the biology exams at university, being completely open book, were the most enjoyable for me because I get the joy of learning while sitting for an exam. I can search the Internet for a better answer, to complement my knowledge from our lecture notes. (Since all our courses have to have open book exams, the examiners have increased the difficulty of the questions, making them much more indirect and requiring much more thought. Yet with the Internet, my lecture notes, my tutorials and past years all next to me as I do my exams is one of the most powerful and enriching exam experiences I’ve ever had. It is, really, a food for thought on how we structure our exams in the future, even when the COVID crisis is over.) For Modern Biology, I reviewed my tutorial videos. I also made a summary on what we’d learnt for all the topics, and it made for great reference during my exam.
Then, phew! It’s time to relax! “You have to study soon, you know,” said my father immediately after my exam, pouring cold water all over my head. Oh well. But I still get to relax for a while first. Haha!
My results will be out in a 1-2 weeks. I do hope I did well! Then comes a hectic 3rd semester…. I am ready for the challenge.
Recently I went back to my old high school to collect my SPM cert.
I went the day after the school announced that we could collect it – it was two weeks before my final exam for my 2nd semester at university, which would commence on the 21st of December, 2020. Yet I went anyway, wanting to get it out of the way. Most of my friends went when they were done with exams or their semester, as did the people I am studying at the same university with, who were from my high school. They all went after exams ended on the 26th.
I went in the school hoping to meet some friends, but it was close to deserted. A sense of tranquility fell over me though, seeing how green our school compound was, how abound the place was with prowling cats, pigeons that walked weirdly, always picking food off the floor, and birds with bright yellow feathers soaring at the rooftops. I remember seeing a squirrel scampering up a tall tree in the school field before. It’s not necessarily better – but…. different, compared to my university campus.
I was eager to meet any friend there, but bumped into none. A school staff asked me to wait for a while when I asked to collect my SPM cert. I watched him chatting with another female staff. Having worked part-time jobs, and having spoken to the office staff at my university, I had become more aware of the people working in a school office and what they actually do. Before this, I never did pay attention to this little office and the people in there.
The male school staff approached me to pass me my SPM cert, made me sign on a name list. I saw my old friends’ names on the name list, and paused a few seconds just to look at all their names. No one had come to collect their cert yet, I was the first in my old Form 5 class. It’s strange, how I was not very close to most people in my class, yet I look at the names and feel a longing.
The staff asked me what I was studying. He said: “Bosan sangat lah. Sunyi sangat nie, tiap-tiap hari takde orang.” (It’s so boring here, there’s no one around at all everyday.) I smiled. I chatted with him a while, then thanked him and left.
These would have to be “quarantined” on a specific table in the living room first. Due to the COVID-19 virus, every time we buy or bring back anything from outside, we usually quarantine it aside for a while!
I wonder when next I will return to my high school?
After the flawless TAG attempt on Asteroid Bennu by NASA’s 3rd New Frontier’s Program mission OSIRIS-REx, the exact mass of sample collected was supposed to have been measured using the concept of a common Physics Law known as moment of Inertia.
*23 Oct 2020 update: The cameras later captured pictures of spacecraft’s sample collector head brimming so full of regolith that it was slowly falling out of the collector, so the Sample Mass Measurement procedure was cancelled to protect the sample. Scientists are confident that more than 60 grams of sample (which is the minimum target) has been collected by OSIRIS-REx and will proceed to quickly stow the sample.
*28 Oct 2020 update: The spacecraft’s sample collector head was successfully placed into its Sample Return Capsule.
*29 Oct 2020 update: The Sample Return Capsule is officially closed! The SRC is targeted to touch down in the Utah desert on 24 Sept, 2023.
I’ll be following OSIRIS-REx mission until 2023. New updates will be posted in a new blog and linked under here.
Disclaimer: I do not own theses photos. These images were screenshots taken from NASA OSIRIS-REx’s instagram page.
“We just want to jump up and shake hands and hug right now!” exclaimed Michelle Thaller, an astrophysicist from NASA Goddard’s Spaceflight Centre. “But with COVID-19, we’ve got to stay apart and protect each other.”
Sampling is in progress.”
At 6.11am, Malaysia time, (6.11am EDT time), I jumped up from bed and opened Youtube on my phone – just seconds after OSIRIS-REx’s first sample collection attempt from the surface of Asteroid Bennu 200 miles away from Earth, known as Touch-And-Go on the agenda. 39,000 people were already watching the livestream. NASA’s TAG Team cheered after a successful historic first touchdown attempt to collect the largest asteroid sample since the Apollo era (that would be in the 1960s). The only extraterrestrial sample that could be larger than this would be samples collected from the Moon decades ago.
The exact mass of sample collected, though, would have to be measured using a special method.
The reason why I’m so excited about this moment is because Asteroid Bennu is an ancient boulder-filled terrain, about only as tall as the Empire State Building, scattered with rocks and dust which may help trace back to the birth and origin of the solar system. Carbon-based compounds were found all over the surface of the asteroid, and these samples may just contain the ingredients for life.
I cheered, watching NASA in the US on the other side of the planet, who were themselves keeping an eye on the data sent back from OSIRIS-REx, 200 miles away from Earth.
Missed most of the action! But after scrolling through the live chats of thousands of people around the world congratulating NASA, and rewinding the live stream, I realized all of the images were only simulations. “We are collecting tons of images right now”, said James Tralie, social medialist and producer at NASA Goddard’s Spaceflight Centre, “but we simply don’t have the data rate to get the images back in real time. So they are getting backed in the spacecraft’s memory and we’ll start looking at those tonight, and we’ll have them available for everybody tomorrow morning.”
I can’t wait to see those images!
This actually isn’t the first asteroid sample to be brought back to Earth. According to National Geographic, Hayabusa, a spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, returned with the world’s first asteroid sample in 2010, and Hayabusa2 will drop its cargo—a capsule filled with several grams of the asteroid Ryugu on December 6 this year. But these Japanese missions picked up only small amounts of fine-grained material. Asteroid Bennu is designed to pick up up to 2 kilograms of material, although the exact amount of mass collected is yet to be measured (in a day or two’s time).
“We backed away successfully from the asteroid surface – the team is exuberant back there. Emotions are high, everybody is really proud, and.. we have some work to do,” said Dante Lauretta, professor at the University of Arizona and Principal Investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission. We don’t yet know how much sample we have collected. The next thing that we’re going to be looking for is, once the spacecraft has cooled off – probably got pretty warm as it approached the asteroid surface – once it’s stabilized, it’s going to point toward the Earth and start bringing that data back. Those SamCam images are going to tell us a lot of information about how the events of today went.”
According to the National Geographic, who posted just moments after the livestream ended, the mission was first proposed in 2004, but was only competitively selected for the third mission in New Frontiers Program in May 2011. OSIRIS-REx’s original leader, University of Arizona planetary scientist Mike Drake, died only months later due to liver failure. Drake’s deputy, University of Arizona planetary scientist Dante Lauretta, took on the role left by his mentor. The OSIRIS-REx mission has since been carried out in Drake’s memory.
If you’re curious, click here to read about the Ten Extraordinary Things You Didn’t Know About Asteroid Bennu, a curation of all the various information I collected from various sources about this ancient asteroid dating back in time and history, simplified for easy understanding and extra-fun discovery. I will also be including in both this and that blogpost the links to the relevant sites!
I’ve been so excited for the latest space updates lately, with three new crew members boarding the international space station just last week on October 14, Wednesday, 1.45am EDT time (1.45pm Malaysia time).
Unfortunately, I’m an aspiring doctor, far from being close to such opportunities, haha! If you want to become an astronaut, astrophysicist or be involved in space agencies, an engineering degree would increase your chances to fulfill such dreams.
For now, I am eagerly waiting for the photos to finally be delivered to Earth tomorrow morning, in Malaysia time (or tonight in EDT time), and for OSIRIS-REx to finally return to Earth by the estimated date of 23 September 2023 !
Asteroid Bennu’s a small and spunky one, both posing a threat to Earth while seemingly carrying evidences of dried up rivers or long gone life as well. A great big congratulations and salute to NASA’s TAG team, who worked so hard to overcome the numerous challenges posed by Bennu’s small size, and boulder-filled surface! We probably know Bennu up and down now, seeing the unprecendented amount of calculating, regular correction and up-to-2-centimeters detailed mapping required.
Brief self-intro: I am a Malaysian university student and aspiring doctor, and I post about anything and everything that interests and enriches me and my audience.