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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (suniti08 Chat Log)During this online chat, 47 questions were asked by 14 schools. There were 7 adults and 14 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Suniti Karunatillake of Cornell University

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 03/19/08 at 13:00.

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

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    How far down is the water ice where Phoenix will land

    Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer estimates indicate it may be within tens of centimeters of the surface.

    Mr. Bennett - Chat Guest at Lakeshore Middle School from , asks:
    Why did you originally choose to study Mars?

    It seemed to be a good stepping stone to the exploration of planets and life beyond earth, since it's one of the few planets for which we have lots of data.

    MaKayla - Chat Guest at Lincoln Elementary from , asks:
    if i was standing on mars, would i see stars like i do on earth

    The star field will be slightly different, but yes you will as long as you face away from the sun.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    good morning! how did your reading inspire you to do the work you do now?

    My science fiction reading gave me the faith that no dream is too ambitious. My science learning taught me how to phrase questions in a realistic manner.

    Mrs. Jones - Chat Guest at Parkview School from , asks:
    How would you compair Earth's atmosphere to Mars' atmosphere?

    Mars's atmospheric pressure at "sea level" is roughly 1/100 that on Earth: a rough comparison is being at the top of Mt. Everest.

    Julie - Chat Guest at Dolan Middle from Kansas City, MO asks:
    Do you think there is currently life on Mars?

    I'm unsure, but I sure hope there would be at least some microbial life. I don't think there's any macroscopic life.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    Whats the most exciting data you have seen either from the rovers of our orbiters above

    From the Odyssey GRS - the unambiguous sign of (gamma) photons from Hydrogen; From the rovers - ripple marks on outcrops at Meridiani.

    Mrs. Jones - Chat Guest at Parkview School from , asks:
    Why do you think water ice can be found on the Martian surface?

    Actually, we have verified the presence of water ice on Mars - based on the concentration of Hydrogen with the Mars Odyssey mission, infrared spectral signature, and RADAR echo-sounding techniques with Mars Express. Most of this is at the polar caps, but there may be some at the mid-latitudes.

    Julie - Chat Guest at Dolan Middle from Kansas City, MO asks:
    Did you always love science?

    Yes, but it is also a way of life for me: I always questioned what anyone told me, especially if it were on the basis of authority or experience.

    james - Chat Guest at Lance Middle School from , NJ asks:
    what does macroscopic mean?

    visible to the naked eye, without needing the help of microscopes

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    we have a question about the temperatures on Mars. Why is it so cold?

    Two main reasons: (1) Mars is about 1.5 times as far from the sun as Earth (2) Mars's atmosphere is very thin in spite of being mostly the greenhouse gas, CO2

    Luke - Chat Guest at Waube Middle School from Omaha, NE asks:
    Is Mars your favorite planet?

    Yes, with the exception of Earth. Europa is my favorite moon.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    could we use the wind on Mars for energy,say with windmills when get there

    Yes, but the power output would be much less as the atmosphere is much less dense than Earth's. Solar and nuclear energy (if we can mine for nuclear isotopes) would be better bets.

    Luke - Chat Guest at Waube Middle School from Omaha, NE asks:
    Do you want to study other planets?

    Yes, especially satellites like Europa that may have liquid water.

    Kristi - Chat Guest at Jefferson Elementary from Kenosha, WI asks:
    Do you want to go to Mars?

    I would prefer to study it from Earth. However, if both my spouse and I could visit Mars together, I'd go in a heartbeat.

    tommy - Chat Guest at West High from , OK asks:
    where is europa?

    It's one of Jupiter's moons.

    MaKayla - Chat Guest at Lincoln Elementary from , asks:
    are there aliens on mars?

    No Martians alive as far as we know.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    How many people could lrealistically live on Mars?

    It's too early to hazard a guess. Right now, it's unclear whether even traveling to Mars would be economically and psychologically feasible for a group of less than ten humans.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    Are there rare materials on Mars?

    Only the same kinds that are rare on Earth. The two planets are very similar in elemental makeup, except that Mars has a slightly higher concentration of iron.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    How high can you jump on Mars?

    Mars's gravity is about 40% that of Earth - so we would be able to jump roughly 60% higher on Mars.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you believe we'll humans to Mars to study the Geology,by 2030

    That may be possible, but it will take political will and a stron financial commitment. The current administration is aiming for 2037

    tommy - Chat Guest at West High from , OK asks:
    if a planet or moon has liquid water what does that prove?

    Only that. However, assuming it has just the right salinity and temperature, life as we know it may be possible.

    Luke - Chat Guest at Waube Middle School from Omaha, NE asks:
    Do you get to drive the rovers?

    No. But I get to watch the drive planning.

    Luke - Chat Guest at Waube Middle School from Omaha, NE asks:
    What are you going to do when you become a doctor?

    I'll begint to lead in projects to understand geochemistry and to search for life beyond earth.

    Rob - Chat Guest at West Middle from , OK asks:
    Do you want to drive the rovers?

    I'm usually more comfortable seeing them driven safely. The drive commanding is a team effort of engineers, rather than one by one or two scientists.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    How far are the rovers suppose to drive this summer season on Mars

    That's not planned yet. It's winter right now, and Spirit is in a semi-hibernating mode, while Opportunity is continuing to explore the Victoria crater from within.

    Rob - Chat Guest at West Middle from , OK asks:
    Can you pop a wheelie on the rover if you tried?

    That's unlikely, because the rovers are designed to be highly stable: it would be very difficult to get them to rear up.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    what kind of project would you create if time and money were not any problem?

    A mission to sample through the ice-crust of Europa, with instrumentation that can identify organic molecules in retrieved samples.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    Does Mars have different seasons?

    Yes, at the higher latitudes, just like on Earth. But they are marked more by temperature differences and sunlight than precipitation.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    are there any purposed projects to bring back samples from Mars that are being built or discussed

    Several are being discussed, but none in the actual design phase. There are some suggestions to add a sample-holder to the Mars Science Lab for future sample return missions.

    joe - Chat Guest at xavier from , oh asks:
    what kind of organic molecules do you want to find?

    Particularly amino acids, RNA, and DNA. But any other organic molecules associated with life on Earth would be fine too.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you think we have become to timid in our exploration of our solar sytem

    I think we have become less willing to foot the bill to significantly surpass the limitations of recent missions.

    Kristi - Chat Guest at Jefferson Elementary from Kenosha, WI asks:
    How many hours a day do you work with data from Mars?

    Anywhere from 6-10 hours.

    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 Suniti Karunatillake for hosting our chat today.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    Can Mars be terraformed with current technology?

    It'll be a tough call, but not impossible.

    Kristi - Chat Guest at Jefferson Elementary from Kenosha, WI asks:
    What do you do with the info you collect from Mars?

    I use it to understand different geochemical processes on the surface.

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    Would the same amount of energy make something go faster on Mars than on Earth?

    Yes, the same amount of mechanical energy could make something go up faster on Mars.

    Kevin Koski - Teacher at Solar Ambassador from Cascade, Wisconsin asks:
    Do we have the right to try to change a planet as in Terre forming or mining it

    We don't, and there are international agreements to safeguard life on other planets. So this would be ethically problematic.

    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!

    John Bock - Teacher at Chignik Bay from Chignik, Alaska asks:
    Thank you, and good luck for your future endeavors. Is ther anything you would like to say to our students?

    Thanks. Always follow your dreams, no matter what others may say!

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    3/19/2008 1:58:39 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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