At the end of the day, adjunct professor Kevin Lizarazo got into our rental Jeep and said, “I’m not even sweating.”

​The high temperature of the day was 105 degrees. ​The low was 96 degrees, according to my Apple Watch that overheated.

​My watch and Kevin weren’t the only things that overheated on Day 1. Two scientific instruments also failed due to the scorching heat of the New Mexico desert.

​Amy McAdam, a research scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center, was using one of them, a handheld device called LIBS that analyzes the chemistry of rocks within a few seconds.

​Halfway through her work the machine gave up. She had to let it cool down, kind of like when our phone gives up when we’re sunbathing on the beach. ​When we return to Kilbourne Hole, she plans to bring a little umbrella to shade the LIBS.

​My own near-meltdown was not caused by heat but by height. I love flying and roller coasters, and skydiving over the Las Vegas strip is high on my bucket list. But when we walked along the edge of this huge crater and I looked down at the steep drop, all I could think of was how many broken femurs I’ve seen working as a paramedic.

​People on the trip thought my job would make me adventurous. But in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The fear of being stuck in a desert waiting for a medevac was enough to make me turn around – -which is exactly what I did, an hour or so before the team quit for the day.

​While Kevin was cooling down, the car leading our little caravan back to our hotel in El Paso took a wrong turn. If we’d driven a few miles farther south, we would have hit the Mexican border. ​We went 8.5 miles the wrong way. Which may not seem like a lot, but when all you see is mountains and a road that goes as far as the eye can see, it feels like an eternity.

​After about an hour and a half of driving around, Kevin, Kayla McKiski, a fellow journalism student, and I saw civilization. There was a massive sigh from the three of us.

​I’ve never been more excited to sit at a red light.