Day 9 of the Alpbach Summer School was extremely busy, with the whole team in the final push to finish our report and presentation before the hard deadline at midnight. The day started with us all meeting at the school house at 9:30am after a late night last night addressing the feedback on our Final Design Review.

We all quickly assembled in our team classroom and got straight down to work, picking up where we’d left off last night. We still had lots of areas of the presentation to polish before showing the final version to the whole Summer School cohort tomorrow. The work was almost non-stop, with us taking shifts for lunch to always have a good number of us in the team room.


We put some finishing touches on our sample return canister design to prevent the sample sublimating during the return trip.

We kept working on the presentation and took some time in the afternoon to rehearse it in full in the sports hall that has been used as a lecture theatre during the summer school. This was very useful and revealed a few little areas we needed to polish up and memorise, but gave everyone who’d be speaking (including me) a chance to really learn our slides and where they fit in the presentation.

As the day moved on, we edged ever closer to the midnight deadline. As well as the final presentation, we also had to produce a written report in the style of a paper, which would be assessed alongside the presentation. We used the online collaboration tool Overleaf to write our report in the academic document preparation system LaTeX. Unlike the presentation, which we could base on the PDR and FDR from previous days, the report had to be written from scratch, meaning a good amount of our time was spent on this, and virtually all of it as we moved into the evening.


Team Orange hard at work as our midnight deadline looms…

Work became increasingly frantic as we approached midnight and we made the decision that as I was the only one on the team with English as my first language, I should be the one to proofread the report. With some much work having gone into it and so little time left, the pressure was on, but one paragraph at a time I speedily read through the report and edited it to make the text flow better.

We got a few last little bits tweaked in the report, quickly added it and the presentation to a memory stick and, at 23:54, we were ready. We dashed upstairs to the submission room and received a round of applause from the Summer School tutors as we handed over the memory stick.

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Team Orange celebrate our successful presentation and report submission with Head Tutor Peter Falkner. © 2018 MA Jakob / Summer School Alpbach FFG/ESA

The whole team could now relax for the first time in several days. We jubilantly headed back to our classroom and cracked open some drinks to celebrate the passing of the deadline and our successful report and presentation submission. After all the teams had submitted our presentations and reports, we walked up the hill to the rest of the village and found a bar for some celebratory drinks, and spent a few hours celebrating all our hard work.

Yesterday was a long, tiring day, but also extremely productive, with all the teams working really hard to finish their reports and presentations before the deadline at midnight. But in the morning, the final presentations will begin…