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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (baker07 Chat Log)During this online chat, 358 questions were asked by 15 schools. There were 33 adults and 81 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Dr. Ellen Baker of NASA Johnson Space Center

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 12/11/07 at 13:00.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Space Explorers would like to welcome Dr. Baker as our host today. All of your questions will be viewed by a moderator. We will try to get through as many questions as possible during the chat period. Ask away!

    Marcia Chambers - Chat Guest at Winskill Elementary School from Lancaster, WI asks:
    Since the first astronauts of the 1960's, have there been long term testing done on the effects of space travel on astronauts' bodies?

    We have done many life sciences experiements on astronauts over the years. Our focus in this area now is to ensure that astronauts can remain healthy for a long trip to Mars and back.

    Jacque Oldenburg - Chat Guest at Edison Middle School from Green Bay, WI asks:
    What was your favorite class in middle school and why?

    My favorite class in middle school was earth science. I've always loved geology and I had an enthusiastic teacher who was passionate about her subject

    Tannen - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What was your favorite food in space

    My favorite food in space was shrimp cocktail. I love shrimp and the spicy sauce just hit the spot.

    Sharon Hanke - Teacher at Mountain Bay from Weston, Wisconsin asks:
    How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an astronaut?

    When I was in school only men were astronauts. So, I never thought about it realistically until I completed medical school. At that time (1978) NASA selected the first women astronauts into the program. Girls today have many more choices and opportunities than in the past.

    Jared Bankson - Chat Guest at Sunnyside Elementary from Sobeiski, Wisconsin asks:
    What does it feel like to float?

    Floating in space feels a lot like you'd imagine. If you've ever floated in a pool, you will know what I mean. It is very relaxing and amazingly, it feels very natural and comfortable.

    Melissa Ten Pas - Chat Guest at Cedar Grove- Belgium Middle from Cedar Grove, WI asks:
    Have you had to do any medical procedures in space? If so, how did you accomplish it?

    I have done medical procedures in space as part of medical experiments. I have drawn blood, performed echocardiograms, measured heart rate and blood pressure, done physical exams on my crew mates, and given medicine. It is very simple and much like you'd do on earth. The hardest thing about doing procedures in space is the preparation because you have to make sure all the equipment is secured with velcro or bungee cords.

    Dr. Ali Fant - Guest Teacher at John Fredson School from Venetie, Alaska asks:
    How do you guys eat food in space?

    Eating food in space is much like eating food here on Earth - at least the chewing and swallowing part. Our food is generally packaged in plastic or foil bags. We rehydrate some of the food and can heat it up (though it is already cooked). We use forks and spoons to eat. Surface tension and the stickiness of the food keeps it on our utensils. Our drinks come in foil pouches (the kind that you used to drink as a small kid), with a straw and a clamp on the straw to prevent fluid from spilling

    Marcia Chambers - Chat Guest at Winskill Elementary School from Lancaster, WI asks:
    Will you be able to take photos showing changes due to global warming?

    We have taken many photos of the earth. On one of my missions we took over 4,000 photos. We can not specifically identify changes due to global warming in our photographs.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Is there really a space station where people can live?

    Yes, the International Space Station (ISS) has been occupied since October 2000 by American, Russian and other International Partner crews. Check out the NASA website (www.nasa.gov) for lots of information about ISS

    Lindsey - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    would you want to go to space again?

    Yes, I'd love to go to space again, but for now, I'm supporting the program on the ground. I've been fortunate to have flown three times on the shuttle.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Can you see the Great Wall of China in space? If so, have you seen it?

    I could not see the Great Wall of China from space. But I did see other man made objects - like the grey of cities and big runways (with binoculars) and the lights of Broadway in NYC.

    Taz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    How many people were in your crew?

    There were 5 on my first crew (STS 34), 7 on my second crew (STS 50), and 7 going to Mir and 8 coming home from Mir on my third flight (STS 71)

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Has NASA put an American flag on a planet yet like they did on the moon?

    NASA has put flags on some of the space ships that have explored other parts of our solar system. But we've only put up a flag on the surface of the Moon.

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Is there any way to comunicate with your family

    We used to have very limited opportunity to communicate with our family while in space, but now, we can send electronic messages (through mission control) and even phone home (through our computer). We also can communicate using a ham radio.

    Jacque Oldenburg - Chat Guest at Edison Middle School from Green Bay, WI asks:
    Where did you go to college and what was your major?

    I went to college at the State University of New York at Buffalo and got a degree in Geology. Then I went to medical school at Cornell and got an M.D. Then, I received a Masters in Public Health from the University of Texas.

    Michael - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    is it scarey lauching?

    It actually isn't scary when we launch. We're busy and focused on the mission, so there's too much going on to be scared.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What is Mir?

    Mir is the Russian space station that was in orbit for nearly 15 years(launched in 1986). It has since fallen back to earth after its useful life was exceeded.

    Michael - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Have you eatin dried ice cream?

    I have not eaten dried ice cream.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    If you go to any planet, what planet would it be?

    My favorite planet is Earth.

    Dr. Ali Fant - Guest Teacher at John Fredson School from Venetie, Alaska asks:
    Tiliisia asks: How do you guys sleep on orbit?

    Sleeping on orbit is easy. Just grab a sleeping bag, find some velcro and hop in. You can sleep on the wall or ceiling or floor. I have no problem sleeping anywhere, so it was easy for me.

    Kathy Kruthoff - Chat Guest at Washington from Stevens Point, WI asks:
    We noticed that space suits come in several colors for various missions, is there a special reason for this?

    The suits we launch and land in (orange) are a bright color in case we need to parachute out and be rescued. It makes it easier for the rescuers to see us. The clothes we wear on orbit come in many colors.

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Did the space station have a closterphobic effect on you?

    Space station does not make you feel claustrophobic. It is actually quite large (much bigger than the shuttle) and there are windows - so you can see the whole world.

    Kathy Kruthoff - Chat Guest at Washington from Stevens Point, WI asks:
    Do you expect that there will be more missions to the moon in the near future?

    NASA is planning to return to the moon in around 2020. We're working on the design of the lunar vehicle and lunar habitat right now.

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    was your space suit heavy

    The space suit that we wear when doing a space walk weighs about 250 lbs.

    Lydia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Do you get to take showers

    We don't get to take showers, but we keep clean by taking 'sponge baths' and using special shampoo.

    Sharon Hanke - Teacher at Mountain Bay from Weston, Wisconsin asks:
    Can you eat peanut butter in space?

    You can eat peanut butter in space. It is delicious. We carry tortillas (they don't make crumbs and last longer than bread)

    Dr. Ali Fant - Guest Teacher at John Fredson School from Venetie, Alaska asks:
    Nicole asks: What's the longest you've been in space?

    The longest I've been in space is 14 days. A Russian cosmonaut has spent 15 consecutive months in space. Our astronauts on the ISS routinely spend 6 months in space.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Can you read in space?

    You can read in space. In fact, you have to read your checklist and instructions. You can also bring some reading for pleasure.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Is it fun to float around in zero gravity?

    It is fun to float around in zero gravity. You'd be amazed at how quickly you get used to it.

    Barbara Parker - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    What do astronauts do to protect themselves from cosmic radiation?

    We don't have many good ways to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation at this time. We're working on better protection to protect crews who might go to Mars one day.

    Barbara Parker - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    A mission to Mars would potentially expose astronauts to radiation for a lenthy period of time. Are there any technologies being developed to help protect these astronauts from the harmful effects of space radiation?

    There are some technologies being developed but we haven't found the best solution yet.

    Lisa Horton - Teacher at Enumclaw Middle School from Enumclaw, Washington asks:
    do your finger nails grow faster in space

    I did not notice whether or not my finger nails grew faster.

    Lisa Horton - Teacher at Enumclaw Middle School from Enumclaw, Washington asks:
    is it true that you grow in space

    You do get a little bit taller in space, but it is only temporary. Your spine straightens out a little and there is less compression on the discs in your spine, so you can grow 1-2 inches. But, when you return to Earth, you lose this extra height.

    Michael - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    What's the best thing about being in Space?

    The best thing about being in space is working with incredibly smart and talented people - both the crew and the ground team. The other great thing is looking at the earth from space. We orbit the earth once every 90 minutes.

    Michael - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    What's the worst thing about being in Space?

    The worst thing about being in space is the time spent away from my family.

    Dr. Ali Fant - Guest Teacher at John Fredson School from Venetie, Alaska asks:
    Wes asks: Do you get sick when you come back from space?

    Some people do get sick for a brief time when returning from space. Almost everyone feels unsteady on their feet and the longer you've been gone, the longer you need to return to feeling 'normal'.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Do you thin kpeople will land on mars?

    I do think people will land on Mars one day. In fact, it could be you!

    Kathy Kruthoff - Chat Guest at Washington from Stevens Point, WI asks:
    If there was a problem with the space station that no one could fix what would the astronauts do?

    If there was a problem on the space station that threatened the well being of the crew (like a fire, or a leak, or lack of water or clean air), then the astronauts could come home. We always have a return ship docked to the station so the crew can leave if there is an emergency.

    Lisa Horton - Teacher at Enumclaw Middle School from Enumclaw, Washington asks:
    how long dose it take to leave the earths atmosphere

    We get to orbit in 8 minutes. We're out of the atmosphere a little faster than that.

    Taz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Can you watch T.V. in space?

    We don't watch TV in space, but we can watch movies (on dvd, on our computers). I'm not much of a tv watcher, so this is fine with me.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    When the shuttle launches, how long does it take to be in space?

    The shuttle reaches orbit in 8.5 minutes. The shortest shuttle mission was 2 days, the longest was 18 days. Normally shuttle missions are 14 days.

    Barbara Parker - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    Student Misha asks: I speek Russian, do you know how to speek Russion? Do you speek Russion with any Russion astronauts?

    I do not speak Russian very well. Many astronauts do speak Russian well, and many cosmonauts speak English well.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Have you seen asteroids? Have they ever hit the space station or shuttle?

    I have never seen an asteroid from the shuttle. Small micrometeorites have hit the shuttle and station and done minor damage.

    Dr. Ali Fant - Guest Teacher at John Fredson School from Venetie, Alaska asks:
    Dr. Baker, you and I both flew our first mission together in 1989. I was a new STSOC Computer Supervisor Console jockey during your first flight. Now, I teach science in Venetie AK. Can you tell my students a little about the many people needed to support a single astronaut in flight?

    HI! So glad to hear you are teaching science. Generally, there are 25-30 positions in the 'front room' of mission control and 75-150 people in the 'back rooms', supporting three shifts every day of the mission. We have a team supporting ISS all the time and have two control rooms up and running when there is also a shuttle mission.

    Jen Haugh - Teacher at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    You studied medicine and became an astronaut, what is common for people to study before becoming an astronaut?

    Astronauts come from many different technical backgrounds. They all have a degree in physical or life sciences or engineering. The most common degree is probably an engineering degree.

    Melissa Ten Pas - Chat Guest at Cedar Grove- Belgium Middle from Cedar Grove, WI asks:
    Do you think people will ever be able to live on another planet?

    I do think we will be able to live on another planet. We'll need to bring our air and water and resources - though we might be able to use some local resources eventually.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Have any of the lab rats ever escaped and damaged the shuttle?

    I do not think any lab animals have ever escaped. We have not flown lab animals in a long time.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What sounds do you hear in space?:)

    The shuttle and ISS are noisy. There are fans and other equipment running all the time.

    Sharon Hanke - Teacher at Mountain Bay from Weston, Wisconsin asks:
    How do you exercise in space?

    Exercise is an important part of our day on the ISS. Astronauts are scheduled for 2.5 hrs of exercise every day. We use an exercise bike, a treadmill (we're held down with bungee cords) and resistive exercise (feels like weight lifting).

    Jared - Chat Guest at Sunnyside Elementary from Sobeiski, WI asks:
    Can you see any other planets besides the Earth from the shuttle?

    The shuttle and ISS orbit the earth at an altitude of about 200-250 miles. We're not much closer to the moon or stars or planets, but there are no clouds and atmosphere to hamper our view, so we have a nice view of space

    Brian - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Jct., Alaska asks:
    How many years did you go to school?

    I went to school for a long time. Four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of training following medical school, 2 years of school to get a masters in public health.... Most astronauts have an advanced degree - either a masters or doctorate.

    Brian - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Jct., Alaska asks:
    Is there always a Doctor on bored the space shuttle?

    There is usually not a doctor on the space shuttle. Our crews are very healthy and get a full checkup before launch, so there are very few medical problems while we're in orbit.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What do the patches on your suit symbolize?:)

    Each crew designs their own patch, and this is usually on the space suit. Each country and space agency has a patch as well

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Can you brush your teeth in space?

    Yes, we brush our teeth in space. We have to rinse very carefully.

    Michael - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    How difficult is it to become an astronaut?

    Many people are interested in being astronauts, so there is a lot of competition, but, if you study hard and are a good worker, get along with your colleagues and are responsible, then you have a chance to be selected.

    Tannen - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Which mission did you like best?

    I liked all my missions. They were all different, and all very rewarding.

    Michael - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    How many NASA astronauts are there and how many actually go on a Space mission?

    There are about 100 astronauts. Almost all will eventually be assigned to a mission and fly in space.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    The chat room will be closing in approximately five minutes. At this time, we would like to thank everyone for joining us for this special event. We would especially like to thank Dr. Baker for hosting our chat today.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Has anyone ever been hurt in space (aside from a disaster like Colombia/Challenger?)

    In the U.S. program we have not had any serious injuries in space. We've had some minor injuries and minor illnesses.

    Brian - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Jct., Alaska asks:
    What kind of stuff do you do at the Johnson Space Center?

    The Johnson Space Center is the center responsible for human space flight. Astronauts are assigned here, and train here. The Mission Control Center in here also.

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What do the stars look like in space?

    The stars look the same from space as from earth, except that you can see more, and the sky is clearer.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    Could you line the space shuttle or space station with velcro and put velcro on your shoes to stay put?

    You could use velcro to stay put, though it isn't that effective. We use 'foot loops' that we grey tape to the floor to keep us in one place.

    Melissa Ten Pas - Chat Guest at Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle from Cedar Grove, WI asks:
    Do you think there is any other life in space?

    I can't prove it, but I do think there is life somewhere else in our vast universe.

    Alicia - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    What was your favorite past time?

    My favorite pastime in space is to look out the window and take photographs.

    Jacque Oldenburg - Chat Guest at Edison Middle School from Green Bay, WI asks:
    Had you not become an astronaut, what do you think you would be doing right now?

    If I had not become an astronaut I think I'd be working for the space program in some other job. Before I was an astronaut, I was a doctor for NASA and took care of the astronauts and helped solve some of the medical problems of space travel.

    Jaz - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Was there any games that you could play in space?

    You could play games in space. Some people might put some games on the computer. I never did play games. I was busy and was more interested in enjoying my time in space than playing games.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    What is the longest you can stay in outer space?

    A Russian cosmonaut spent 15 months in space. We might be able to stay longer, but that is the limit of our experience right now.

    Amy Estep - Chat Guest at Watonga Middle School from Watonga, OK asks:
    What is your job? What do you do on a daily basis as an astronaut?

    In general, when an astronaut is not assigned to a mission and is not training, they are supporting current or upcoming missions in some way. They might work in mission control, or they might work on the checklists, or the procedures and equipment, or help design new systems.

    Kathy Kruthoff - Chat Guest at Washington from Stevens Point, WI asks:
    Where is your next mission? How long will you be expecting to stay in so

    I am not assigned to a mission. I have flown three missions already and will probably not fly any more. I'm busy supporting the space station missions and space shuttle missions.

    Brian - Chat Guest at Delta Cyber School from Delta Jct., Alaska asks:
    What was your longest time in space?

    My longest time in space was 14 days.

    Tannen - Student at Moose Pass School from Moose Pass, Alaska asks:
    Did you have any problems in space?

    I did not have any problems in space and my three missions ran very smoothly.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    For the most up-to-date and complete listing of future chat events, please check out http://www.space-explorers.com/internal/events/chats.html. We look forward to chatting with you again!

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Kathy Kruthoff - there will be more opportunities like this in the future - every month during the school year Space Explorers holds an online chat.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    12/11/2007 2:11:36 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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