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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (voss Chat Log)Hosted by Astronaut Janice Voss of NASA

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Hello and welcome to our chat with astronaut Janice Voss.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 03/05/04 at 12:55.

    Student 01 - Student at Phenix City Intermediate Schoo from Phenix, Alabama asks:
    Does it hurt when you take off?Ņ

    There is a lot of vibration and noise, but we are well protected by our helmets from the noise, and by our 5-point seat belts from the vibration. The acceleration is no more than you might experience on a carnival ride. So no, it doesn't hurt.

    Shelly Clark - Teacher at Langston Aerospace Environ from Hot Springs, Arkansas asks:
    what is your favorite space food?

    There are about 150 items on the Shuttle menu. Each crew member decides what to eat for each meal from this list. We fly 5 kinds of food. Dehydrated food has been dried, then we add water to prepare it for eating (my favorite: instant mashed potatoes with cheese). The 2nd category is intermediate moisture. This food has been partially dried, and is eaten dry (my favorite: dried peaches). The 3rd kind is natural form (my favorite: roasted peanuts). The 4th kind is Meals-Ready-To-Eat,

    Student 43 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    was space scary?

    I didnít find it scary, because our training is so thorough that even the very first flight feels familiar. Itís a lot like driving in a car. You probably know of people who have been injured or killed in car accidents, but you donít think about that every time you get into a car. NASA does itís best to make space flight safe (I hope you wear your seat belt when youíre in a car), and going into space is so important that itís worth the remaining risk.

    Melissa D - Chat Guest at West DePere Middle School from DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    What does it feel like to be in space?

    It feels a lot like swimming using SCUBA gear. If you ever have a chance to do that, when you get deep enough in the water that you canít see the surface, it feels a lot like being in space. It is so similar that we train astronauts underwater.

    Student 49 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    Do you think I should be an astronaut

    To be an astronaut, You need to have a good education in math and science, and some related work experience. You also need to be a good team player, be comfortable speaking in public, and be in good physical shape. If this sounds like you, or skills that you would like to develop, then you would be a good candidate for astronaut.

    Student 58 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    what did you like best about your experience in space?

    I most enjoy working with the team of trainers, flight controllers, and my crew to make everything happen. Basically, ďI love it when a plan comes together.Ē You realize just how tremendously more effective a great team can be than people working alone, and the satisfaction that comes from being part of such a team is enormous.

    Student 34 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    how big or small are small are your beds

    We use sleeping bags, just like on a camping trip, to keep us from floating around while we sleep. The sleeping bags have clips on the corners, so they can be secured where ever thereís room. For "dual shift" flights, where we divide the crew in half so we can work 24 hours a day, we have sleep bunks that are big metal boxes about 7' long and 4' square that we can put our sleeping bags in for a quiet, dark place to sleep when the other half of the crew is working.

    Barbara Aanderud - Teacher at Beulah Middle School from Beulah, North Dakota asks:
    From Shelbi: How old were you when you decided to become an astronaut?

    I first became interested in the space program in sixth grade. I checked out a book called A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and got hooked on science fiction. I've been an avid science fiction fan every since. I was good in math and science, so there was a natural fit to be involved in the space program. As I got older and realized that I really enjoyed operations, I began focusing on being an astronaut.

    Brad L - Chat Guest at West DePere Middle Shcool from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How loud is a rocket?

    It depends on how close you are. At the base of the Space Shuttle stack at lift off, it's so loud that we flood the area with water to dampen the sound so it doesn't crush the surrounding structure. At the viewing site 3 and a half miles away, it sounds like a lot of cars backfiring.

    Molly N. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from West DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    What are 5-point seatbelts?

    Seat belts that have 5 straps, like race car drivers use. One over each shoulder, one over each hip, and one between your legs. They all connect together at one 5 slot buckle at your waist, hence the name 5-point.

    casey gilmour - Chat Guest at langston from hotsprings, AR asks:
    what kind of robots do you work with?

    The Space Shuttle has a robot arm, the Space Station also has an arm (a little larger), and we occasionally control free-flying robots (like the Charlotte experiment on my second flight).

    Lori Ruebowden - Teacher at Haddonfield Middle School from Haddonfield, New Jersey asks:
    Dr. Voss, do you think when we return to the moon, we'll be bringing back moon dust - helium 3 - to use as a fuel source on earth? Will you be working on robots that will bring back samples, before any manned missions are sent?

    It will be a while before we will be ready to do mining operations on the moon, and by that time we would probably not bring the products back to Earth, but use them in manufacturing facilities in orbit. I don't currently have any plans to personally work on a lunar sample return mission.

    Barbara Aanderud - Teacher at Beulah Middle School from Beulah, North Dakota asks:
    From Emily: Is it gross not changing clothes everyday, or don't you notice?

    But we do change clothes every day, at least on my Space Shuttle flights.

    Melissa D - Chat Guest at West DePere Middle School from DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    Were you nervous before you went into space for the first time?

    Not any more than you are every time you get into a car. I trusted the NASA team to make the mission as safe as they possibly could, and didn't actively worry about how safe it was after that. Besides, I was too busy working to spare any brain cells for worrying!

    casey gilmour - Chat Guest at langston from hotsprings, AR asks:
    have you ever been out of the space shuttle ,if so how did it feel?

    I have never done a spacewalk, so I can't tell you how it feels.

    Molly N. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from West DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    How do you sleep? Do you just float, or are you constantly awake?

    You sleep about the same amount in space as you do on Earth, which for me is about 8 hours in every 24. Actually being asleep feels just like on Earth, but falling asleep feels like floating.

    Student 29 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    do you ever get tired of you job/

    Never. Not only is it challenging and fun, but I feel that I'm making a valuable contribution towards making life better for people on Earth because of the advancements in medicine, materials science, etc. which come out of research in space.

    Paul Ziebell - Teacher at Olson Middle School from Mauston, Wisconsin asks:
    Elly M. 8th grade Olson Middle School-What do the stars look like from space?Olson Middle School

    The night sky from space looks very similar to what you see from the windows of a commercial airliner, if you happen to be flying at night with the cabin lights off. In terms of the number of stars, it's very close to what you would see if you looked at the night sky away from the city lights (say in a national park). The only difference is that stars don't twinkle, so it seems like you're looking at a picture of the sky, rather than a real sky.

    brandi breckenridge - Chat Guest at Langston Magnet from Hot Springs, AR asks:
    Would you like to go to Mars?

    I think it would be a great experience.

    Paul Ziebell - Teacher at Olson Middle School from Mauston, Wisconsin asks:
    Olson Middle School says hello! Did you always want to be an astronaut?

    Hello, Olson Middle School. Being an astronaut was always my first choice for a career.

    Student 77 - Student at Broad Creek Middle School from Newport, North Carolina asks:
    Why are astronaut suits always orange?

    Only the Launch and Entry Suit is orange, and that is to help search and rescue operations if we had to do an emergency exit from the Space Shuttle. The suits we do spacewalks in are white.

    casey gilmour - Chat Guest at langston from hotsprings, AR asks:
    Do your ears pop when you go in space?

    No, because there is no pressure change. We keep the Space Shuttle at the same pressure as the air at the launch site, 14.7 pounds/square inch.

    Jason Daniels - Chat Guest at K-Beach Elementary from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    How does it feel when you are floating around? Sydney T.

    Very peaceful.

    brandi breckenridge - Chat Guest at Langston Magnet from Hot Springs, AR asks:
    how many of your things can you bring

    On Space Shuttle flights, which is what all of my flights have been, two personal items. On my first and second flights, I took a book and a rubber disk to help me connect and disconnect cables. For the rest of my flights, there was a rubber disk in our tool kit, so I took two books. We can fly 10 items to give to friends and relatives, but they are packed away and we don't have access to them during the flight.

    Talanda Smith - Chat Guest at Langston from , asks:
    Can you use phones in space

    Not for a long time, because the spacecraft moved so fast that the phone line couldn't be tracked. About two years OK, programmers figured out how to solve that, and we can now make phone calls from space.

    Sarah Francetich - Teacher at Rickard Elementary from Williston, North Dakota asks:
    Are there any "secret" future plans that you can tell us about? - Shawn

    Well, if I were allowed to tell you, that would because lots of people know, and then it wouldn't be a secret! There are lots of plans that I know about that the general public doesn't, but that's just because the press doesn't cover them, not because it's secret.

    Kristi S. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you one day believe that someday they will send something to another galaxy?

    Absolutely!

    Nick D - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How do you cook your food?

    We have a convection oven, which you can see in the picture of me on this page, at my left shoulder. The white panel with text on the front is the door. We don't actually cook the food, because it's all pre-cooked. We use the oven to warm it.

    Molly N. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from West DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you have fake gravity on the spaceship or are you constantly floating?

    Constantly floating.

    Sarah Francetich - Teacher at Rickard Elementary from Williston, North Dakota asks:
    Are the orange space suits comfortable? -Janae

    Not terribly, because they are heavy and bulky, but you don't wear them for very long, so it's not a big issue.

    brandi breckenridge - Chat Guest at Langston Magnet from Hot Springs, AR asks:
    when was your first flight

    June 21, 1993.

    Sarah Francetich - Teacher at Rickard Elementary from Williston, North Dakota asks:
    What is your job on Earth? - Scott

    Between flights, we support other flights getting ready to launch, which may involve going to meetings, testing new procedures in simulators, or many other assignments. At the moment, my job is Lead Increment Scientist for Increment 8 and 9 (8 is currently on-orbit on the Space Station). Which means that I help organize the experiments the crew on orbit does every day.

    Ms. Jacques 4th grade class - Chat Guest at Langston from Hot Springs,, AR asks:
    What happens if you get a tear in your space suit?

    There are many layers to the suit, so hopefully a tear wouldn't penetrate all the way through. For any unexpected and potentially dangerous event, you would get back inside as quickly as you can without making things worse. That's why we always have at least two people on every space walk, so there's someone to help if required.

    Patti Martin - Teacher at Berry Middle School from Birmingham, Alabama asks:
    Teacher Patti Martin from Berry Middle School in Hoover, Alabama 's class would like to ask: What type of robotics is your specialty? We would also like to know if you think plants grown in microgravity can flourish like those grown on Earth?

    I don't have a speciality, astronauts strive to have broad, non-specialized skills, so we can handle a large variety of situations. Many crew members have grown plants in space for fun, you can see one in the IMAX film about Space Station. They flourish very well, although the growing technique has to be a little different.

    brandi breckenridge - Chat Guest at Langston Magnet from Hot Springs, AR asks:
    when your in a space suit does it feel hot in their?????????????????????????????????

    We wear cooling garments that contain tubes that water flows through to keep us cool. We have a control to adjust the water flow rate to get the desired temperature.

    Kristi S. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    if you messed your hair up, while in space, would it float?

    It certainly does!

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    The chat room will be closing in a few minutes. Thank you for joining us. And we would especially like to thank Dr. Janice Voss for being our guest today. Please join us for our next Live Online Chat with Astronaut Daniel Brandenstein. This chat will take place on March 16, 2004 from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CST.

    Kristi S. - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    When you float in space you can touch the floor on the spaceship, did you try to walk on the floor or did you stay floating the entire time?

    We have loops of canvas attached to the floor to slide our toes into when we want to be still. For moving, we always float.

    James McCarter - Chat Guest at Central Middle School from Kokomo, IN asks:
    What job have you had on the shuttle that you enjoyed the most?

    My first flight was the first flight of a new laboratory called SpaceHab, in which I did lots of experiments. On my second flight, I retrieved a satellite, and operated more experiments in SpaceHab (on its third flight). My third flight was cut short by an electrical problem, and working to get as much science done as possible while getting home safely was very challenging. My fourth flight was the longest (16 days), and involved a lot of work with fires that was brand new research.

    Erin S. - Chat Guest at West DePere Middle School from DePere, Wisconsin asks:
    Were do you sleep in the spaceship?

    On the ceiling of the middeck on single shift flights.

    Ms. Jacques 4th grade class - Chat Guest at Langston from Hot Springs,, AR asks:
    Can you wear earrings or jewelry in space?

    Yes, you can, as long as it doesn't create a safety hazard. You aren't allowed to wear them in the space suits, because you don't want to damage either you or the suit getting in and out.

    brandi breckenridge - Chat Guest at Langston Magnet from Hot Springs, AR asks:
    your first flight was my birthday!!!!!!

    Clearly a special day...

    Nick D - Chat Guest at West De Pere Middle School from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Do you practice anti-gravity dirills?

    The drills we practice are emergency response, like in case of a fire on board.

    Paul Ziebell - Teacher at Olson Middle School from Mauston, Wisconsin asks:
    Ms. Voss, Thank you for your time and the work you do.

    You're welcome. Thank you for your interest!

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    3/5/2004 1:56:32 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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