NOAA 2017 Internship

During the summer of 2017, after just finishing my junior year of high school at East High School, I had the honor of doing an internship at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The internship started on June 12, 2017, and concluded on July 21, 2017, which was about 1.5 months. At NOAA, I worked for NOAA’s Science On a Sphere team, which is a team that works on NOAA’s SOSx and Tour Builder software.

SOSx can be explained as follows:

Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. (source)

SOSx’s Tour Builder, is a software tool that allows users to make “tours” for A SOS. Tours can be explained as follows:

Tours are scripted presentations (similar in concept to power point presentations) that run on SOSx and take a user through the datasets and can include a storyline. Tours often include text, images, guiding questions, pop-up web content, videos, and click-able place marks, audio, pausing for user input, etc. (source)

SOSx’s tech stack, from what I can remember, was Unity and C#. I’m not exactly sure what Tour Builder’s tech stack was. The 3D models were edited/made with tools like Blender, and some of the models came from the internet as long as they had an open-source license.

I interned at NOAA’s Boulder office, right next to NIST, where I mainly helped with the development of NOAA’s SOSx by using the Tour Builder software. I created educational content, a tour, of the Apollo 11 mission. For the tour, I got 3D models (Blender files) of the Apollo 11 Rocket, Voyager One, and the Apollo 11 Lunar Module from the internet, which were added into SOSx thanks to some of the SOSx developers. In the tour, there are a lot of images and videos. The images are from Google Images and edited with macOS’s Preview app. The videos are from YouTube and edited with macOS’s iMovie app. The text and overall “tour editing” were done using SOS’s Tour Builder software.

You can view the tour here:

During the internship, I also experimented with making a video game in Unity. In this game, the goal was to have the player drive an Apollo rocket to Mars and try to land it. Due to timelines, the game was never finished and was still in a very early development stage. But, I did get the rocket and Mars assets added into the game and I got basic rocket controls working. I used C# as the programming language, and I would say it benefited my coding journey.

Working as a high school intern at NOAA was a great experience. It was an early introduction to the STEM field, and I learned a lot in those 1.5 months. To this day, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do an internship at such an amazing scientific agency at such an early age.