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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (gruener2004 Chat Log)During this online chat, 37 questions were asked by 7 schools. There were 4 adults and 11 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by John Gruener of NASA Johnson Space Center

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    What can you tell us about the Crew Exploration Vehicle? When will one be built and tested?

    Prototype fly-off competition in 2008, first unmanned flight on 2011, first flight with astronauts in 2014. That's the current schedule according to the President's Space Exploration Vision

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 11/18/04 at 11:00.

    Cyndy Moriarty - Chat Guest at Challenger Learning Center from Indianapolis, Indiana asks:
    What are the goals for lunar exploration? What does NASA hope to do; hope to find on the moon?

    Wow, big question! Many goals. Learn how to work and live on a planetary body for increasingly extended periods of time. Develop the capability to use lunar resources to make products and live off of the land. Help stimulate a commercial space industry-NASA does not have to do everything, private companies can provide products and services. Use the moon to better understand the geologic history and development of inner solar system planets. Use the Moon as a testbed and training ground.

    Erica - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    What was it like to re-enter the earths atmosphere? Was it scary?

    I've never been in space, but I bet it is scary!

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    When did you first know you wanted to work for NASA?

    In college I wanted to be in the Air Force, but when that didn't work out I though NASA would be a lot of fun. And it sure has been.

    Hollie Miller - SEI Staff at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin asks:
    What is the most rewarding part of your job?

    Right now, it is working with scientists on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions, trying to understand the mineralogy and geochemistry on the Martian surface.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Tell us about your training and first days working with NASA? What was it like?

    My first days at NASA were a bit slow. The Challenger accident had just occurred 4 months prior, so there was a lot of work trying to figure out what went wrong. I wanted to work on future Moon-Mars missions, and there wasn't much happening in those areas.

    Erica - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    What are your thoughts about all the companies competing to create the first sub-orbital vehicle?

    I think it is great! Nothing spurs imagination and ingenuity better than competition. I hope more companies have successful flights soon.

    Erica - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    how realistic is a lunar outpost?

    Very! We have been working on the needed technologies for quite a while. What has been missing is the political and national will to get beyond earth orbit. I'm hoping that Congress and the American people get behind it this time around.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Since our last live online chat with you, you have been promoted as the flight systems engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center. What do you do in this role on a daily basis?

    I coordinate experts in science and engineering and lead studies on what we might do on the moon and what kind of systems we would need there to do those things.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How does President George Bush's reelection influence the possibilities of future lunar exploration?

    It certainly helps it, as his opponent did not seem to have a vision for much beyond the current space shuttle and station programs. We now have four more years to try and get something going, but it will take more than just the President and NASA pusing exploration.

    Jessica - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    You use to be a space farmer - what did this involve?

    I was working on developing a substrate that worked as a slow-release fertilizer, providing nutrients for plant growth. On the Moon, we could possibly mix the substrate with lunar soil, then begin composting plant and human waste to continually improve the growing capability of the lunar soil. Much like farmers continue to try and improve their soil here on Earth.

    Jessica - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    What types of things is NASA planning to do on the moon?

    First, would be basic exploration of the lunar surface and the materials that it is made of. We can learn how the inner planets formed and how to use the natural resources on the Moon for our benefit. Since exploration is a discovery driven process, who knows what we will find and where it will lead us.

    Jessica - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    Have you conducted any experiments that could allow people to live on the moon?

    Our plant growth experiments produced food to eat, oxygen to breathe, and water to drink. All very much a part of life support systems that would recycle over and over again. We will need regenerative life support systems on the moon.

    Jessica - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    Did you grow up on a farm? It's neat that you are tying agriculture with studies of the moon!

    No, I grew up in the western suburbs of Houston. But there were two small farms at the end of the street I grew on. My grandparents lived out in the country and I went out there as much as possible. I love being in the outdoors, and working in the yard and vegetable garden.

    Andrea - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    How would we get food to the moon if a space station was created there?

    We would first bring ready to eat food with us. As capabilities increased we would plant seeds just like we do here on earth. It would be an evolving process. Start slow and small, and get more complex as you learn along the way.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    What has been your most facinating discovery?

    Lately, I've been supporting the discovery of minerals on Mars that require water to form (hematite and jarosite for example). Now,of course, the question is how much water for how long, and if water, then life? Fun stuff!!

    Andrea - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    Do you think there could be life on the moon?

    No, the moon is a very, very hostile environment. Extreme temperatures and radiation, and no organics found so far. Mars will be a much better place to look for life.

    Andrea - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    Will humans ever be able to walk on the moon again?

    Sure they will! Like I said in another question though, it will take national and politica will to make it happen. Technology is not the road block. If we (the USA) don't do it, somebody else will. The Europeans have moon plans, and in fact they just got their first satellite, SMART-1, in orbit around the moon earlier this week. I would love to see other countries pursuing it.

    Katie - Chat Guest at Sussex hamilton High from Sussex, WI asks:
    What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to work for NASA?

    Study and make good grades (of course). Find out what you like, science, engineering, business, law, etc., then pursue that. We have all types in the space program. When I was growing up I was told only aerospace engineers work at NASA. WRONG!! That's why I went back to school to get a science degree, because that is what I like best.

    Adam - Chat Guest at from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma asks:
    If you were able to explore the moon, what would you do first?

    Find out if there really is water ice in permanently shadowed craters at the poles. If we found water, that would make living off of the land a lot easier. Then I would check out the lava flows and volcanoes because I love volcanolgy (the study of volcanoes).

    Adam - Chat Guest at from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma asks:
    Is there water on the moon?

    Possibly. It would be in the form of ice in permanently dark (in shadow) and permanently cold craters near the lunar poles. That's the number one thing we need to find out.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Has the moon changed since the Lunar Prospector mission?

    Nope, not really. Probably a few more small craters, but that's about it.

    Marcus - Chat Guest at from St. James, MN asks:
    How often do volcanos erupt on the moon?

    They don't anymore. The lavas we have measured are over 3 billion years old. There may be some younger, but there is nothing flowing now. The small moon cooled down from its formation much faster than our larger earth has.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How do you create an environment similar to the moon (with low levels of gravity) when conducting tests on earth?

    We fly airplanes in big parabolas in the sky. When you go over the top you can simulate low (or zero) gravity. Just like going over the top of a hill on a roller coaster.

    James Schmidt - SEI Staff at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How do you think the success of the scramjet will affect future exploration vehicles?

    We will be able to fly through our atmosphere from place to place faster. Scramjets need atmosphere to get oxygen from, so they wouldn't work in space. You could possibly use scramjets to help launch payloads into space.

    Erin Jacobs - Chat Guest at from Houston, TX asks:
    Do you anticipate NASA will send people to the Moon or to Mars first?

    The moon first, definitely. It is close and easier to get to, we can go anytime we want because it is always in orbit around the earth, and if something goes wrong on the lunar surface we can always come home. We could get to the moon and live there with today's technology. We can use the moon as a training ground and testing area for missions to Mars and other destinations.

    Marcus - Chat Guest at from St. James, MN asks:
    What other planets are visible from the moon besides the earth?

    All of them! In fact, some people would like to put telescopes on the Moon for astronomical research.

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    The chat room will be closing in a few minutes. At this time, we would like to thank everyone for joining us for this special event. We would especially like to thank John Gruener for being our chat host today.

    Christina - Chat Guest at from Minneapolis, Minnesota asks:
    Are there any resources we could use from the Moon?

    Lots! The moon rocks are mostly made of metals and oxygen, sometimes up to 50% oxygen. The lunar soil also has hydrogen, helium and other gases embedded in it thanks to the solar wind coming out of the Sun. There may even be water ice near the lunar poles. So we have lots of prospecting to do!

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Please join us again next month for a spaceflight chat with Astronaut Catherine Coleman. This chat is tentatively scheduled to occur between 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. CST on Monday, Dec. 6, 2004. For the most up to date and complete listing of future chat events, please check out http://www.space-explorers.com/internal/communications/chats.html . We look forward to seeing you all again!

    Erin Jacobs - Chat Guest at from Houston, TX asks:
    Do you see the moon as a potential refueling location?

    You bet! Propellants made on the moon could make travel in the earth-moon system much cheaper (once the space vehicles and chemical processing plants are in place). If we can learn how to make enough propellants, they could even be used to get to Mars and other destinations in the Solar Systems. I hope the energy producing companies here on earth join in on the exploration, just as they do here on earth.

    Erin Jacobs - Chat Guest at from Houston, TX asks:
    Thank you for chatting with us - you have been very insightful.

    My pleasure, I very much enjoy working in the space program and sharing the excitement with others.

    Hollie Miller - SEI Staff at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin asks:
    What minerals can be found on the moon?

    Silicates and oxides mostly.

    Hollie Miller - SEI Staff at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin asks:
    How could exploration of the moon help improve life on Earth?

    It will take people to design and build everything we will need. That translates into jobs, lots of them if space exploration were to proceed. I can see space exploration as the nations WPA of the 21st century.

    Chrissy Paape - Moderator at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    11/18/2004 12:05:22 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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