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Kathy's Impact Diary Day 1 2 3

Day One

We are just so lucky! To be here in this crazy place of extreme weather and astonishing scenery. To be "forced" to do challenges that really are challenging and stretching, but enormous fun to do. To work with a bunch of people who are all so prepared to help and work together to try solve problems - and who are so creative. To have people available in such different areas of knowledge and skill too is just so interesting (as well as crucial for getting the challenges done!).

And now for this challenge we're being flown and helicoptered to Meteor Crater in Arizona. It's just too good to be true! It's a long journey, though, after an excruciatingly early start, and we don't have very long to make measurements.

Making the measurements isn't so easy either ... it's amazingly windy and very, very hot. And the terrain isn't exactly smooth and easy. In the lab, or the mine, it's so easy to decide what to do without realising how much harder the fieldwork will actually be.

At the end of the day I'm desperate to make more measurements to help us estimate the diameter of the crater. It's clearly not circular, so we need to try to estimate the diameter at several points to get a reasonable average.

Ian, the film crew and Kate all need to film Ian doing some geology, so I go off to do another measurement alone. It's a nightmare! The wind is so strong now that my cardboard table is almost wrenched away and keeps bending and breaking, the string is pulled like a kitestring and the tripods are blown over. It's all so ridiculously hard it becomes funny.

I eventually manage to do it all - with huge errors, I suspect - and sit and wait for the others to come pick me up. They take hours and hours, and the sun sets over Meteor Crater. It's a staggering view; all I can do is wait, breathe deeply, and enjoy the scenery - it feels a real privilege.

Kathy at work
Scientists Diaries

All craters great and small - read the other team members' diaries as they attempt to measure the impact of impacts: