• Planetary Times Newsletter
  • Opinion Corner
  • Message Board
  • Space Calendar
  • Featured Classes
  • Testimonials
  • Press Kit
  • Classroom Publicity Kit
  • Release Forms
  • Archived Online Chats
  • Contests
  • Space Fun
  • Trivia Corner
  • Orbital Laboratory® Payload III
  • Marslink®
  • Moonlink®
  • Space Explorers
  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (gruener2006 Chat Log)During this online chat, 149 questions were asked by 16 schools. There were 26 adults and 52 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by John Gruener of NASA Johnson Space Center

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    Have you touched rocks or soil from Mars or the Moon?

    Only 'touch stones' in museums. The samples we take to classrooms are in sealed glass containers, and in the lab we try not to touch rocks or soils with our hands, only utensils.

    Tyler - Guest Student at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    What is it like to work at NASA?

    Lots of fun. I work with all kinds of scientists, engineers, educators, artists, students. Fascinating. I learn something new everyday. Interesting. We are always trying to figure out how to do something that not many people have done before (in many cases things nobody has done before).

    Robby - Chat Guest at Fort Greely Middle School from delta junction, Alaska asks:
    2.What do you do for the ISS?

    I mostly work on the exploration of the Moon and Mars. But I do talk with space station people to learn from their experiences and use those lessons learned in our planning for upcoming human exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 10/19/06 at 12:34.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Space Explorers would like to welcome John Gruener 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!

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    What does it take to design a mission to Mars?

    Lots of people! Scientists and others to decide what you want to do on Mars. Operations people to figure out how to do those things the scientists want to do using people and robots. Engineers to design the systems that will allow the planetary operations to happen. More engineers to plot the trajectories between Earth and Mars. And even more engineers to design the spacecraft to travel between the planets. Did I mention lots of imagination!

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    Would you like to go to the Moon or Mars someday?

    Most definitely!! I've always loved the outdoors with camping, hiking, exploring. Watching the Apollo astronauts as a kid was really inspiring for me. I would have to get the O.K. from my wife and kids though, as it will be very dangerous. Exploration has always been and will always be dangerous. But, to be standing on the Moon looking up at the earth would be incredible.

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    Will there ever be "farms" on the moon?

    Yes, I think so. Once we start staying there for long periods of time it will be too expensive and risky to send 'groceries' from earth. Growing plants in regenerative life support systems makes too much sense. Plants can give us oxygen to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and something to nurture and take care of.

    Tommy - Guest Student at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    Can plants grow on the moon or in a pot in the spaceship?

    Sure. They need to be inside with you, or in a greenhouse, because the environment is too extreme out on the surface. So, with some light, nutrients, and seeds you're on your way.

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    How old were you when you decided to become Rocket scientist?

    Well, I knew as a kid I wanted to work in the space program. I was told that everybody in the space program is an aerospace engineer. WRONG!! We have all kinds of careers at NASA. So, I got my aerospace engineering degree, but as I started working I found out I'm really not as much an engineer as I am a planetary geologist. So, I went to night school to get a degree in physical science, mostly planetary geology. Now I do a little of both. Lots of fun!

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    How long have you worked in space expeiments?

    20 years and counting. I'm disappointed we don't have people back on the Moon or on their way to Mars yet, but we are working on it. I hope the politicians in charge keep supporting the exploration vision we are working towards.

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    Do you think that the earth will hit the sun someday?

    No, but I've read that it is possible that in billions of years the Sun will get so big that it could swallow up the earth. That sounds like it might be hotter than a summer in Texas!

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    Were you surprised when they changed the classification of Pluto to "Dwarf" planet?

    Not really. The more I've learned about the solar system, the more I thought about Pluto as a Kuiper Belt Object anyway.

    Patricia Novy - Guest Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    Is your job fun?

    VERY VERY FUN!!

    Patricia Novy - Guest Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    Will the space shuttle be redesigned to land on the moon or other planet?

    No, the space shuttle was only designed to go up to Earth orbit and designed with 1970s technologies. The shuttles will be retired in 2010. We are working on new spacecraft designs to get us the Moon and other places in the solar system.

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    My students would like to know what you grew as a space farmer.

    Lots of vegetables and grains. Wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, bell peppers, carrots. There's probably a few more I'm forgetting. I haven't been a space farmer for about six years now.

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    Is it hard to become a scientist for nasa?

    Sort of. It takes good grades in school, a good dose of common sense, an inquisitive mind, and lots of hard work and perseverance when things don't go right in the lab.

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    Do you work with scientists from other countries on your experiments...or are they top secret?

    Nothing top secret about NASA. Exploration missions are very international with different countries either supplying the spacecraft or science instruments. Lots of international science meetings where data is shared. Take Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon for example. Indian spacecraft with Indian, European, and American science instruments. It's the way everything should be done when it comes to space exploration.

    Gregory - Chat Guest at Fort Greely middle school from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    2.When do you think we can get are first man on mars.

    Probably in the 2030s. We will use the Moon (which is much closer to home) in the 2020s to learn how to work and live on a planetary body, and then apply what we learn to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

    Amanda - Guest Student at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    If you could go to any planet, which would it be, and why?

    The Moon (does that count as planet?) I've always liked the Moon since being a kid, maybe because I can look up and see it just about every night. The Moon is going to be a lot like St. Louis was over a century ago, a gateway to the solar system. I would like to be a part of a 'first colony' much like Jamestown was (400 year anniversary next year. Check it out!)

    Sharland Deitz - Teacher at Douglass High School from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma asks:
    Will the "farming" on a space station be hydroponics only ?

    No, true hydroponics needs gravity to keep the nutrient solution 'down' in the tray. Experiments to date have had some sort of solid substrate with nutrients provided either by the substrate, fertilizer tablets, or nutrient solutions. Water and/or nutrient solutions come thorugh porous tubes into the substrate.

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    Are your kids excited about space exploration too?

    Sometimes. But mostly it's Pokemon or Nintendo.

    alex - Chat Guest at Fort Grilly Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    What do you think we might find if we colonized the moon?

    That's the exciting thing about exploration-you don't really know what you'll find! But, we will learn how to use the natural resources on the Moon to sustain us. Living off the land has always been important to explorers on earth, and it will continue to be important to explorers of the solar system.

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    JP wants to know what obstacles you faced as a space farmer.

    Irrigation systems failing. Temperature control. Light bulbs burning out. Seeds not germinating. Sterile plants not producing edible food. Nutrients not being delivered in right quantities. Bacteria in soil dying and not getting established to help plants take up nutrients. Budget.

    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 John Gruener for hosting our chat today.

    Nicholas - Chat Guest at Ft.Greely Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    3. Is it hard growing plant's in space with very little gravity?

    Not really. You put the light on one end of the plant growth chamber so the plant grows 'up' toward the light, and you put the moisture at the other end of the chamber so the roots grow 'down' to the moisture.

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    What are some of the dangers of going into space?

    Radiation. No air to breathe. Reliance on mechanical systems. Dusty planetary surfaces. Isolation and loneliness. Immune system declines. Muscles atrophy. Loss of bone mass. I'd still go!

    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!

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    Dennis, Cody and Zack would like to know the origin of the Moon.

    We don't know for sure, but the leading theory is a Mars-sized object smacked into the young earth, and bits and pieces of the impactor and earth were sent into space and eventually coalesced and collected in an orbit around what was left of earth, into what we now have as the Moon.

    Sharland Deitz - Teacher at Douglass High School from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma asks:
    Can the soil on Mars be treated with fertilizer or chemicals to inable farming to take place on the surface of Mars in a biosphere?

    We think so. The high level of sulfur and chlorine (salts) will have to be dealt with by some sort of remediation (leaching?). The levels of other chemical elements could be amended with slow-release fertilizers. Browse the internet for the word zeoponics.

    alex - Chat Guest at Fort Grilly Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    What do you feel is the hardest part of building a rocket?

    Flying it successfully!

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    Do you have to be very good in MATH to be a space engineer?

    I wouldn' t say 'very' good, but at least 'pretty' good.

    Nicholas - Chat Guest at Ft.Greely Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    5. When is the expected time of actual human-like building's in space?

    Human-like? Hmmmm. The space station alreay has quite a few modules (kind of like mobile hoomes) in orbit around the earth, but I guess they don't count as they are kind of floating. So, the first buildings on solid ground will occur on the Moon in the 2020s. Space architecture, a career for the future.

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    Justin C would like to know if you lived on Mars what things would we need to adapt ?

    Our body would have to get used to less gravity (muscles, bones, ect.). You will spend quite a bit of time indoors. When you go outside, you'll be in a space suit that restricts your movement (like scuba diving on earth). You will only get to live with a small number of people that you can't get away from (so be nice). You'll be working with lots of robots to help you explore the planet. Phone conversations will be impossible, it will be more like trading email. No shopping malls.

    Beth Petty - Chat Guest at Springwood from Tallahassee, Florida asks:
    For the first time this year Science is being tested in Fla. on the FCAT which is our state standardized test. Do you feel that Science can be taught and tested in such a traditional method? If you could design a better tool for testing American children on the Subject how would you do it?

    Oh what a difficult question! I think science is best learned by hands on experimenting in the lab and trips out in the field. So maybe standard experiments could be designed and the students results from the experiments would be their measure. This is something that couldn't be done in a one hour test format. Maybe several settings in different environments (lab work vs field work)

    Bryan - Guest Student at Great Meadows Regional from Great Meadows, New Jersey asks:
    What kind artificial life support do you grow your plants in?

    We have to provide enough light, appropriate temperatures and humidity, and adequate nutrients and water. Most of this is done on Earth in plant growth chambers that we have bought from companies that specialize in this. A company in Wisconsin called Orbitec has built plant growth chambers for space. You can find them on the internet.

    Robby - Chat Guest at Fort Greely Middle School from delta junction, Alaska asks:
    5.Did you do ever do something with the Mars rovers?

    Yes. I've worked in a lab here at JSC analyzing earth rocks and minerals and comparing that data to the chemistry and mineralogy data that has come form Spirit and Opportunity to better understand what rocks and minerals are on Mars and what environments (water?) they formed in.

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    We are interested in the moon and wonder if and when you think children will be allowed in space.

    I think childern will be on the Moon once 'settlers' move in after the 'explorers'. This is how it has been on earth. My guess is this might not happen until after 2050 or so, but who knows. Maybe there is a 'Robinson Family' ready to go now. Though lunar exploration will be a bit too dangerous for families anytime soon. As a parent, I wouldn't risk my kids' lives right now, and probbaly not anytime soon.

    Matthew - Chat Guest at Springwood Elementary from Tallahassee, Fla. asks:
    How deep is the deepest crater on the moon?

    Well, the South Pole-Aitken basin is the largest 'crater' on the Moon and there is about a 11 km difference between the basin floor and basin rim.

    alex - Chat Guest at Fort Grilly Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    When do you think the next mission to the moon will be?

    The next human mission to the Moon will likely be sometime between 2018 and 2020.

    Andie Lloyd - Guest Teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary from Naples, Florida asks:
    Do you think that someday there might be life on Mars?

    Sure, us!!

    alex - Chat Guest at Fort Grilly Middle School from Delta Junction, Alaska asks:
    What is your view on colonizing the moon?

    It will happen with or without the U.S., it's only a matter of time. It should include international and commercial participation. There will be lots of robots to help us explore and work and live on the Moon. We will have to 'live off the land' and use lunar natural resources to sustain us.

    R Smith - Teacher at Nome Elementary School from Nome, Alaska asks:
    What is the most interesting thing you've found on Mars?

    Minerals that only form in the presence of water.

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    10/19/2006 2:37:04 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
    Site MapPrivacy Policy