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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (england2006 Chat Log)During this online chat, 305 questions were asked by 13 schools. There were 35 adults and 156 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Dr. Tony England of the University of Michigan

    chance - Chat Guest at fort greely school from delta junction, alaska asks:
    how did you react when you recieved the presidents medal of freedom?

    It was presented to the team who had worked to recover Apollo 13. Of course, we were all proud of the recognition.

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    Do you have fun in space or is most everyone serious?

    It is always best to include some levity. The work is serious and the consequences of a mistake can be very bad, but maintaining a cool and friendly climate helps everyone get their job done without errors.

    Bill Nutt - Guest Teacher at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    What is it like in a spaceship? (Nicholas Coccaro)

    It reminds me a little of being inside a submarine. It is very much a machine with pumps and fans always running. Both the Apollo Spacecraft and the Shuttle are a bit noisy inside and, over days of being inside, you do notice oil in your hair from the machinery.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    What was it like spending time in space?

    It was very easy and the view was fantastic. I could be over my hometown of West Fargo, North Dakota, and look south over the Gulf of Mexico and east over the Atlantic.

    Elizabeth Russo - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 03/23/06 at 13:10.

    Elizabeth Russo - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Space Explorers would like to welcome Dr. Tony England 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!

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    What do you do for fun aboard a spacecraft?

    We tease each other a bit and there is always someone who likes practical jokes. Mostly though, everyone is simply fascinated with the new experiences.

    Kayla B. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    About how many different controls are there in a shuttle?

    There are many hundreds. I don't know an exact count but the Shuttle is complicated almost to the point of being bad engineering.

    Judy Schmitz - Teacher at Brown Deer Middle from Brown Deer, Wisconsin asks:
    Is the International Space Station fully built, or is it still in the process?

    The ISS is still in process. Most of the pieces are built but not all have been launched. Also, some of the science structures will likely not be built.

    Bill Nutt - Guest Teacher at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    How accurate was the movie APOLLO 13 compared to what your experienced?

    I tend not to like that kind of movie, but Apollo 13 was an exception. It was extremely accurate both technically and dramatically. Some of it was a little simplified, but it would have been difficult to capture the full complexity of the recovery. I started as one of the capcoms (an astronaut that talks to the crew) but, because of my experience working in space suits, was the astronaut assigned to work with the Crew Systems Div. We developed co2 scrubber you saw in the movie.

    Jomo - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    If your in space and its your birthday, what do you do?

    Someone would have smuggled something on board that would serve as a pleasant surprise.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    Did you see any planets while you were in orbit? If you did, did they look the same as we see them on Earth?

    We could identify most of the planets. The colors are more obvious. But stars don't twinkle in space so recognizing the difference by their twinkle does not work.

    James W. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How hard is it to get into your space suit and how long does it take to get in it

    Well, you don't want any excess weight. Getting in the suit and going through the checkout takes about an hour if done carefully. In an emergency, it can be done much faster.

    Molly R. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How long does it take to get to a certain planet like mars?

    It depends upon how much fuel you have. Current designs could get there in a few months on the fast end, but the most efficient path would take most of a year.

    Amber - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    What was space food like?

    It was like good camp food. Almost all of it is dehydrated - add water and squish it around. It tasted ok.

    Katelyn A. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Do you get nervous when about to go into space?

    We were not nervous about the risk. My concern was about doing a good job. Many people had worked many years on it. I didn't want to let them down.

    Elizabeth S. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How do you keep in touch with your family from space?

    We were the 2nd crew to fly an Amateur Radio/ slow-scan TV system. We used it to talk with many schools and young people's groups, but we also used it once to talk to our families.

    Savanna - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    How come astranauts can't use regular clotheson other planets in space?

    Humans evolved to live comfortably in the Earth's environment. Other planets have very different environments. Without the aid of a spacesuit, we could not survive in those environments.

    Bill Nutt - Guest Teacher at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    Do you think there's a planet farther than Pluto? (T.J. Bohm)

    I really don't know. If there is another one out there, it is pretty small.

    Jolene - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    What do you do if someone gets hurt in space?

    We try to include a medical doctor on each crew and we do have some medical equipment on board. In an emergency, in Earth orbit, we can come home.

    Terrance P. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    how fast are you shot into the air on liftoff?

    We go from a standing start to 17,000 miles/hour in 8.5 minutes.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    How much lighter do you feel in space than on Earth?

    In Earth orbit, you don't have any weight. On the Moon, you weigh 1/6 of your Earth weight.

    Elizabeth S. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Does it feel odd to step on land once you have been in space for awhile?

    Yes, it does. It takes about two days to adapt to space and, for those who have been up a long time, about equal time to adjust to being on Earth.

    Lauren A. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Is it possible to customize your shuttle

    Not really. Much of the responsibility for adjusting to things that break lies with engineers on the ground. They have to know how everything works so we don't change very much between flights.

    Linda Andrews - Teacher at Rosendale Intermediate from Rosendale, Wisconsin asks:
    What experiments did your crew perform? What were the results? Do you have questions about Space that you'd like answered? 5th graders

    We flew space plasma experiments and telescopes to look at the Sun in ways that we cannot do from from the Earth's surface because of the atmosphere. Yes, we were planning to fly the same mission again, but the Challenger accident cancelled the reflight.

    James W. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    What do you think is the most exciting thing about being an astronaut?

    As a scientist, it is performing experiments that yields new knowledge about how the universe works.

    Cindy Knutson - Teacher at Meadow Lakes Elementary from Wasilla, Alaska asks:
    What is the longest amount of time that astronauts can remain in space?

    We have not had folks stay much longer than a year. To stay longer, we need better ways to keep them physically healthy.

    Jolene - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    can you see the milky way from your space shuttle wondow?

    Absolutely. The Milky Way is very obvious - as it is down here on a dark night.

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    Have you ever seen a black hole?

    We can't 'see' a black hole. All anyone can see are the effects of a black hole. Seeing those effects requires very accurate measurements of positions of stars that take much more better telescopes than we have flown on the Shuttle. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope has made such measurements.

    Eric B. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Have you ever seen anything that no one was able to explain?

    Not really. I have seen things while flying aircraft that were a puzzle for awhile, but I was always able to figure out what I was seeing.

    Brittany S. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Can you feel things better or worse in space? Or does it not have an effect?

    All of your senses are slightly changed in space. Food tastes a little different and the eyes have a slightly different acuity. I didn't notice that things felt different, but I wouldn't be surprised if careful measurements showed they did.

    Trevor J. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Do you know if humans are going to go to another planet?

    I am confident that humans will eventually go to Mars and beyond.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    What are shooting stars like in space?

    Shooting stars are below you. Remember, they are rock grains burning up in the atmosphere so you see them while looking down at the Earth rather than up.

    Amber - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Did you ever see the Aurora Borealis in space?

    We took pictures of the Aurora Australis. I had work in Antarctica a couple of seasons. It was particularly thrilling to see the Aurora over Antarctica.

    Amber - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    How long does it take to get to space?

    It takes 8.5 minutes with the Shuttle.

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    Are you able to take a shower in space?

    Not on the Shuttle, but the Space Station has a shower as did Sky Lab.

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    Is there sound in space?

    There is sound inside a spacecraft but not outside. With no air, there is no sound.

    Jolene - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do astroids sometimes hit the space shuttle?

    Space debris and micrometeorites do hit the Shuttle. The windows are 3 pains thick. We had sever small cracks in the outter glass from space debris.

    Vaughn W. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    how do you have to prepare to go to space

    Preparation is mostly engineering development of the payload and training for the mission. A complicated mission, like ours, took over 2 years to prepare and about 8 months of training.

    Jordan R. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How come you can't light fire in space?

    Fire needs oxygen. Space is a vacuum (no oxygen) so nothing will burn outside the spacecraft. Inside a spacecraft, things will burn because we fill the spacecraft with the air we need to breath.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    If it is 9:00AM on Earth is it the same time in space?

    We go around the Earth in 90 minutes. We use either Mission Elapse Time, Houston Time, or Universal Time (which is the time in Greenwich, England, while on orbit.

    Coralynn B. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    if you throw something will it ever come back

    If you are in orbit and throw something. Whether it comes back depends upon which way you throw it. No matter which way you throw it, the orbit of the object will cross your orbit, but the orbits might not cross at the same time.

    Maggie - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do you think there is life on different planets?

    I don't know but there are several envirnoments - on Mars or on the moons of some of the gaseous planets where there are reasonable chances for life.

    Audrey - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    How many people fit in the Shuttle?

    The Shuttle can carry 8. In an emergency, you could stuff in more.

    Deja A. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    What is your reaction when things don't go right on a space mission?

    I look for a way to fix it or work around the problem.

    Jordan R. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    What keeps us from drifting off into space?

    On Earth it is gravity. In space, we stay tethered (essentially roped) to our spacecraft if we are outside (EVA).

    Cathy Leu - Teacher at Eagle View from Unalaska, Alaska asks:
    What happens if you bleed in space?

    Bleeding would be about like here. None of the physics would change.

    Jolene - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do you brush your teeth in space??

    Yes, we do and for all the same reasons.

    Corderno Z. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How do you sleep in space?

    We had a 7-person crew that was split in two teams. One team worked while the other slept. Members of the sleeping team had small closets they went into. I just floated in mine while I slept.

    Austen H. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    What is the moon like?

    The Moon is primarily a pile of rubble. It is about the same age as the Earth but nothing much has happened there in the last 2 billion years.

    Cody M. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How do you sleep in space!!!!!???????

    Hi Cody, As I mentioned earlier, it is very easy and comfortable.

    Audrey - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do you float when you go bathroom?

    We hold ourselves down with a belt if sitting. If just using the urinal, it has air flowing into it to keep the fluid from coming back out.

    Trevor J. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    Can ordinary citizens go on a space ride??

    Not yet. There are commercial operations that hope to offer rides but the cost will be higher than most of us can afford. The technology will eventually get to the point where it is accessible everyone.

    Elaine Meinhart - Teacher at Amity Intermediate Center from Douglassville, Pennsylvania asks:
    If you ran out of fuel would you be able to get more fuel?

    You would not want to run out of fuel. You need fuel to make electricity to keep things running. You also need fuel to de-orbit to come home. It is possible for another spacecraft to bring up more fuel. That is the way Space Station works.

    Jomo - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do you guys watch tv in space?

    We didn't on Shuttle. I don't know whether Space Station has a supply of DVD's. I could find more interesting things to do.

    Rebekah T. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    How much do your space suits weigh?

    Space suit technology is improving. The Apollo suit and backpack weighed about 200 pounds. The newer suits are lighter.

    Maggie - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Do you have fun in space!!??

    Hi Maggie. Yes, I had a lot of fun in space.

    Linda Andrews - Teacher at Rosendale Intermediate from Rosendale, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you think there is life elsewhere in Space? Lilly 5th gr.

    I believe it is likely that there is life elsewhere.

    Elizabeth Russo - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    At this time, we would like to thank everyone for joining us for this special event. We would especially like to thank Dr. Tony England for hosting our chat today.

    Amber - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    How does a spaceship land?

    Some land in the water and float. Others, like the Shuttle, have wheels and land like an airplane.

    Fiona W. - Student at Tanana Junior High School from Fairbanks, Alaska asks:
    area all the moons the same for each planet?

    The moons of each of the planets are different.

    Linda Andrews - Teacher at Rosendale Intermediate from Rosendale, Wisconsin asks:
    Jared, 5th grade: Has anyone played football in Space?

    Not that I know of.

    Jomo - Guest Student at St Mary from St Marys, Alaska asks:
    Why did you want to become an astraunaut?

    Sorry folks. I need to go back to work. My best wishes for your studies. Tony England

    Elizabeth Russo - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Please join us again on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 for a chat with NOAA Scientist Thomas Wrublewski. During this chat, you will have an opportunity to discuss the GOES-N Mission.

    Elizabeth Russo - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    3/23/2006 2:17:56 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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