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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (Bloomfield09 Chat Log)During this online chat, 37 questions were asked by 12 schools. There were 16 adults and 11 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Michael Bloomfield of ATK

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 05/20/09 at 11:30.

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Space Explorers would like to welcome Michael Bloomfield 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!

    Mary Tierney-ley - Teacher at Rosholt Elementary from Rosholt, asks:
    is it scary to go out in space?

    We're usually too busy performing our job to be scared. I'm usually "concerned" the night before a flight rather than the day of the flight. Once in space, it's not scary at all. :-)

    Mary Tierney-ley - Teacher at Rosholt Elementary from Rosholt, asks:
    what was the longest time you've been in space?

    My longest trip was 12 days. Two of my flights visited the International Space Station, the third flight visited the Russian Space Station MIR.

    Julia - Chat Guest at St. Petersburg from , asks:
    could you blow bubbles with bubblegum in space?

    Yes! It'd be no different than down here on Earth.

    Cathy Stanley - Teacher at West Rusk Junior High from New London, Texas asks:
    do you thinks theres life on mars

    I don't know, but what an amazing find if there is life on Mars.

    Ms. Van Den Heuvel - Chat Guest at from , Washington asks:
    When did you first know you wanted to be an astronaut?

    Not until I was 35. I was an AF pilot looking for a way to stay in the cockpit, and NASA was a way to keep flying high performance aircraft ( and spaceships!).

    Mary Tierney-ley - Teacher at Rosholt Elementary from Rosholt, asks:
    have you ever fly a saturn 5 rockect or been in one

    Nope! They were done flying by the time I became an astronaut. I've been up close to one that's lying on it's side here at JSC.

    Josh - Chat Guest at St. Petersburg from , asks:
    What does it feel like to float in space?

    It is very much like being in a swimming pool. It's very hard to get work done in 0 gravity. Its like trying to play checkers on the bottom of a swimming pool!

    Ms. Van Den Heuvel - Chat Guest at from , Washington asks:
    What advise would you give aspiring student astronauts?

    Stay in school, study hard, become a "jack of all trades" rather than a specialist. Most importantly, however, is know how to get along with others and "play well in the sand box."

    Rhonda - Chat Guest at from De Pere, WI asks:
    How do you sleep in space?

    We have a hammock with a sleeping bag attached. We strap ourselves into the sleeping bag which is attached to the floor, ceiling or wall. Sleeping is the most earthlike thing we do in space.

    Rodger - Chat Guest at Lincoln from , asks:
    When you came back from missions, did it take a while to get your 'Earth legs' back (kinda like sea legs)?

    Yup! I was surprised by this. After a two week mission, it took be several months until I could run with the same frequency, speed, and duration compared to preflight. For folks going to ISS, it can take up to 6 months to get back into shape.

    Jenna Richards - Chat Guest at from Corpus Christie, TX asks:
    What do you think is the most challenging aspect of going into space?

    Not being able to use gravity to keep eveything where it needs to be. If you lose something on Earth, you only need to look "down" to find it. If you lose something in space, you need to look down, up, and sideways. And in the end, whatever you lost may not be "on" anything.....it could have floated away.

    Rob Jackson - Chat Guest at from CT, asks:
    what do you think about NASA's plans to return to the Moon

    I thinik it's great NASA is going to go back to the moon. It's one of the most important investments our country can make.

    Tracy - Chat Guest at Washington from , asks:
    Did you wear contacts in space? If so were they hard to clean without gravity?

    I don't wear contacts, but since everything is hard to do without gravity, I can't imagine cleaning contacts would be easy.

    Ms. Fisher - Chat Guest at Lincoln Memorial from , Colorado asks:
    are you able to communicate with your family while in space?

    Yes. We traded e-mails on a daily basis. When we visited the ISS, they have a phone actually allows us to call home. In addition, once during every mission each crewmember is allowed to have a videocom with their family members.

    Ms. Fisher - Chat Guest at Lincoln Memorial from , Colorado asks:
    Do you think you'll be able to go to the Moon one day?

    I've left NASA, so I'm not going to be able to make that trip. When I talk to students of any age, I tell them that they might have the opportunity to go to the moon.

    Paul Meyers - Chat Guest at from Rockford, IL asks:
    What is your least favorite thing about going into space?

    Hmmmm...Can't think of anything right now. Probably missing my family, just like any other trip!

    Rob Jackson - Chat Guest at from CT, asks:
    What do you do to train for space travel?

    Many, many, many, many simulations with many, many, many, many malfunctions!

    Morgan - Chat Guest at St. Martin from , asks:
    Was there a variety of food to choose from like cornbeef hash and fish tacos, or were you pretty much stuck with cereal and pot roast flavors/food?

    Yes, and the variety and qualify of food has increased over time. For my first mission in 1997, I alternated between two different daily menus because there wasn't much of a variety. For my last flight in 2002, I had a different menu every day. When folks started living on the International Space Station, they asked for more variety in the food. It was important for morale. Those of us who flew on the shuttle missions benefited from that.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at from Tampa, FL asks:
    what were your fav foods to eat in space - did you have space ice cream?

    Macaroni and Cheese; unfortunately, I never ate space ice cream in space.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at from Tampa, FL asks:
    How is garbage disposed of in space

    On the shuttle, we put it in a trash container and bring it home with us. On the ISS, they put it in the resupply ship and then jettision the resupply ship. The resupply ship then burns up in the atmosphere.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at from Tampa, FL asks:
    how do you brush your teeth in space

    Very carefully. Actually, you brush your teeth the same way you do on Earth, but you either swallow the toothpaste (YUK!) or spit it into a towel. No sinks in space!

    Oliver - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    On your missions has the pilot ever threatened to turn the shuttle around like my dad does when we visit granma?

    I'm sure the pilot would like to do that sometimes, but it hasn't happened on any of my missions. I'll be sure and pass this s technique along to some of the guys I know who are still flying.

    Mr. Robinson - Chat Guest at West HS from , North Dakota asks:
    In what form does mac & cheese come in in space

    It's freeze dried. We add water and put it in the oven for 10 -15 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper and you're good to go!

    Ms. Fisher - Chat Guest at Lincoln Memorial from , Colorado asks:
    what's involved in training to go to space

    Since I'm a pilot, I spent lots of time training to rendezvous with the ISS and land the shuttle at the end of the mission. We have a variety of simulators to train on.

    Ms. Fisher - Chat Guest at Lincoln Memorial from , Colorado asks:
    Will the shuttle completely retire?

    Unless Congress changes the law, we will retire the shuttle at the end of next year.

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    We will be closing this chat shortly. Thank you to Michael Bloomfield for hosting today’s chat. 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 additional chats this fall semester!

    Albert - Chat Guest at St. John's from , asks:
    While at NASA you had quite a bit to do with the shuttles, will you be sad to see them retired or happy to see them replaced?

    The shuttle is an amzaing machine, but at some point we need to fly our astronauts in a safer vehicle. The only way to make a rocket safer is to equip it with a launch abort system, something that will extract the crew away from the rocket if something goes wrong. It's too expensive to retrofit the shuttle with such a system, so we need to build a new system.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at from Tampa, FL asks:
    what's the best part about your job?

    It's always about the people. I loved meeting a variety of people and hearing their stories about how they contributed to the space program.

    Mr. Robinson - Chat Guest at West HS from , North Dakota asks:
    Did you see anything floating by when you are traveling in space?

    Only small pieces of trash that came out of the payload bay.

    Rob Jackson - Chat Guest at from CT, asks:
    what did you enjoy most throughout your missions

    For me, the view out the window is unbelievable.

    Tanya West - Chat Guest at Hardee Middle School from , asks:
    Did you lose muscle while in space?

    They never measured it directly, but I found I was much weaker when I returned from space.

    Jennifer - Chat Guest at from Tampa, FL asks:
    Thank you for chatting us us today!

    My pleasure. Thanks for the excellent questions.

    Mr. Robinson - Chat Guest at West HS from , North Dakota asks:
    Thanks!

    You're welcome!

    Tanya West - Chat Guest at Hardee Middle School from , asks:
    thanks for answering our questions!

    You're welcome!

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    5/20/2009 12:18:28 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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