• Question: what is the biggest challenge you have come across in your work?

    Asked by zozbex41 to Simon, Julia, Delma, Andrew, Alex on 9 Dec 2015. This question was also asked by Jack.
    • Photo: Delma Childers

      Delma Childers answered on 9 Dec 2015:

      In science, we like to use the best methods and technologies we can for our experiments. Sometimes a new method or technology is developed that greatly improves the power of our experiments. On a normal experiment on Earth, I’d be free to switch to the new method. But for an ISS experiment, everything we do has to be approved by engineers and all sorts of people involved with the space station, so making these kinds of changes is very difficult (sometimes impossible) and can delay our mission. When new methods come up, we have to carefully consider if the challenge of getting the change approved is worth the time lost. Since it may be years from the time an experiment is proposed until when it is sent to space, it can be disheartening for us scientists to compromise and not send an experiment the way we’d really like to see it done.

    • Photo: Andrew Winnard

      Andrew Winnard answered on 9 Dec 2015:


      But you can always overcome problems by learning and keeping trying 🙂

    • Photo: Julia Attias

      Julia Attias answered on 9 Dec 2015:

      Excellent question @zozbex41,

      The biggest challenge for me has to dealing with large amounts of data (numbers) that need to be analysed. It takes a lot of learning, and particularly patience to make sure that the data you have is reliable and trustworthy. It has taken me 5 months to analyse and process and make sense of some data that I collected in April!