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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (yingst Chat Log)Hosted by Dr Aileen Yingst of UW Green Bay

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin writes:
    Room opened by Moderator on 10/01/03 at 10:30.

    - Moderator at from , writes:
    Welcome to the Space Explorers, Inc., chat with Dr. R. Aileen Yingst.

    Cindy Lee Duckert - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    I have explained to my students why the sky is blue. If a person stood on Mars, what color would the Martian sky be to that person? I'm wondering about the lack of moisture in the carbon dioxide atmosphere.

    In answer to the first question, the martian sky is an orange/pink color. If you've seen pictures from Mars Pathfinder, the sky color is pretty close. As to the second part, you're right. The martian atmosphere does not contain the proper components to scatter the blue parts of the spectrum.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    Do you think that we will find fossiles unders the surface of mars?

    I doubt very much that we will find fossils like animal bones, unfortunately. However, we might someday find the remains of tiny organisms - lifeforms so small you need a microscope to see them.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    What life forms did you find on Mars?

    We found lo lifeforms on Mars. We didn't even find any evidence that there might have been lifeforms on Mars in the past.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    which planet in our solar system other than earth do you think is the biggest possibility to have life on it?

    That's a tough one. I would say that, given what we know now, Mars has the best chance of having evidence of life, present (microscopic) or past (probably also microscopic). Europa is a pretty big question mark, though. With a global ocean, the chances increase for life, present or past, on Europa - but right now that's just entirely speculation.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    WHEN IT RAINS HERE DOES IT RAIN IN SPACE?

    When it rains on Earth, it does not rain in space. The clouds above us are where rain comes from, so since there are no clouds in space, there's no rain in space.

    Donald Hanson - Chat Guest at SHS from Seattle, Washington asks:
    I have read that astronauts left seismographs on the moon that have detected moonquakes, If this is true what is causing these moonquakes as I have also read that the moon is tectonicly inactive?

    The Moon is tectonically inactive, but every time it gets struck by a meteor, moonquakes result.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    When was the last active volcano on the moon and how big was it compared to those on Earth?

    The last active volcano on the Moon probably happened about 3.6 billion years ago. In terms of height, it probably was small, but in terms of how much lava was produced, it would have dwarfed anything we currently have on earth by hundreds of times.

    Many students from the Mars Exploration Team - Chat Guest at Lincoln HS from Manitowoc, WI asks:
    How big of a role will the "non-NASA rover" play? manitowoc

    That's a good question. Every mission has its own set of questions it is trying to answer (in this case, about Mars). Every bit of information we get will be useful to the missions that come along in the future.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    Did mars have water on its surface millions of years ago ago

    Mars probably did have liquid water on its surface, but it might have been as long as billions of years ago. However, there is some evidence that there might occasionally be very small amounts of liquid water very recently.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    How old is the planet Mars?

    Based on what we understand about the way the solar system formed, we think that Mars is as old as Earth - about 4.6 billion years old.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    is it true that there is a pyramid on mars

    It depeds upon what you mean by pyramid. If you mean a rock structure that is shaped like a three or four-sided triangle, then there might be. If you mean something that was built by someone or something, then the answer is no.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    Hi, How many years until we land a person on mars?

    Boy, good question. I don't know, but I can tell you that if we wanted to do it today, we have the technology. It's just a question of money.

    Cindy Duckert - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    If you could send anything to the moon to conduct any experiment, what would you like to find out?

    I would like to find out why there is so much evidence of volcanism on the near side of the Moon, but very little on the farside. Why the difference? And rather than sending an experiment, I would want to either bring back samples, or send astronauts (including myself!) to pick up rocks.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    what color is Mars?

    The surface of Mars is a rusty color, and that's what we see from Earth.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    HOW BIG ARE THE NEW 13 -PLANETS

    I'm assuming that you mean the moons that have recently been discovered around Jupiter. These moons are very small - a few miles across or a few tens of miles across for most of them.

    Peggy - Student at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How often IS the Moon hit by things?

    The Moon is hit by things as often as the Earth is. It's just that the Moon keeps the record of impacts as craters, for longer than the Earth does. Early in its history, the Moon was bombarded very frequently - just like the Earth was.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    Was there ever ice found on ganymede and if so what was under it?

    There is ice on Ganymede - in fact most of the moon is made of ice. Out in the outer solar system, water ice behaves like rock does here on Earth. But was there a liquid water ocean underneath the ice? No.

    Mellonie Warren - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    What was it like on Mars.

    Well, if you're asking if I ever went to Mars personally, I didn't, unfortunately. No one has yet. But if you're asking me what it was like when our mission flew to Mars, it was fantastic. Mars is a desolate, cold and fascinating place.

    Chris Grugel - Chat Guest at Carthage from Kenosha, WI asks:
    Is the red spot on Jupiter really a storm?

    Yes, it really is a storm, and it has been going since at least 400 years ago when it was first discovered.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    Have their been any humans or human spacecrafts on one of jupiter's moons?

    No spacecraft have landed on any of Jupiter's moons, but Galileo and Voyagers 1 and 2 flew by and imaged many of the moons.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    what shape is mars?

    Mars is round, just like Earth.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    Is the moon really made of cheese?

    Nope.

    Donald Hanson - Chat Guest at SHS from Seattle, Washington asks:
    Why was Mars so close this year at opposition as compared to other years?

    That's a bit of a complicated question, hard to answer without drawing a picture. The short answer is that the two planets don't have exactly circular orbits, but ellipses. These ellipses come close to each other at a few points, but bothplanets have to be on the right place in that path to really come close to each other.

    Donald Hanson - Chat Guest at SHS from Seattle, Washington asks:
    After the 2003 Mars Rovers what does NASA have planned for the next 5 to 10 years of Mars exploration?

    The next mission in the queue is called "Phoenix" and is going to land at the martian north pole to dig into the ice. I'm involved in that mission.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How did you become a member of the Mars Teams?

    I became a member of various mission teams by being a really good scientist, working really hard, and knowing the right people. I spent a lot of time doing research, but I also spent a lot of time meeting people and working with as many colleagues as possible, so that they would know what my areas of expertise are. Then, when they were awarded missions, they would know what I could bring to the mission science team. How's that for an honest answer?

    Chris Grugel - Chat Guest at Carthage from Kenosha, WI asks:
    Do you believe in aliens?

    Tough question. Do I "believe?" Based upon what I know about the size of the cosmos and the possibility of other Earthlike planets, I think there is a good chance that life exists elsewhere other than Earth. Do I "believe" we have been contacted by extraterrestrials? Based upon the lack of evidence and the poor quality of the evidence that does exist, I would have to say no, I do not think we have been contacted by extraterrestrials.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    CAN ANIMALS LIVE IN SPACE?

    Well, animals can only live in space if they are provided with all of the things they need to live - water, food, air to breathe and so on. So if we want an animal to live in space, we have to protect it the same way we protect astronauts.

    Bill Saunders - Chat Guest at Ridley High school from Folsom, PA asks:
    What is the most abundent element on Mars?

    The most abundant element on Mars? If you mean the most abundant chemical compound on the surface, it's probably a rock-forming compound like silica.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    IF WE SENT A PROBE TO ONE OF THE GAS GIANTS WILL THE PROBE GO THROUGH?

    You mean, would the probe go right through the planet and come out the other side? No, because the high gravity of the gas giant would crush the probe long before it got through.

    Chris Grugel - Chat Guest at Carthage from Kenosha, WI asks:
    is it possible that there may be bacteria on mars

    There are scientists who think the conditions may exist on Mars right now for some type of life (probably even smaller and less complex than bacteria) to exist on Mars. The jury is still out on that one.

    Peggy - Student at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    How are you involved in the Phoenix mission?

    I am working on the education and public outreach programs for Phoenix. I also hope to help the robotic arm camera team in their work to get that instrument ready for Mars.

    Joan Thomas - Chat Guest at Hillcrest Middle School from Trumbull, Connecticut asks:
    What are the rocks like from the Moon?

    The rocks from the Moon are similar in composition to basalt or feldspar, depending on where you go on the Moon. One main difference is that rocks from the Moon are bone-dry. There's no water in them at all, which was a very surprising result. Nearly every rock on Earth has some sort of evidence of being affected by water, but that's not true for Moon rocks.

    Cindy Byers - Teacher at Rosholt Middle School from Rosholt, Wisconsin asks:
    Why was the Galileo probe crashed into Jupiter ?

    The Galileo probe was crashed into Jupiter because of one of it's moons, Europa. Europa has an ocean of liquid water under a crust of ice. Though there is no evidence that there was, is or could be life under that ice, no one wanted to take the chance that someday Galileo would crash into Europa and contaminate the surface.

    Many students from the Mars Exploration Team - Chat Guest at Lincoln HS from Manitowoc, WI asks:
    how do you think the face on mars was created??

    The face on Mars only looks like a face frome one angle. When viewed with the Sun at a different angle, or even at a different time (after much of the dust has been blown away), it no longer looks like a face. So I think the "face on Mars" was formed like all the other landforms around it, and it is our ability as humans to be able to pick out what looks like a familiar pattern.

    Donald Hanson - Chat Guest at SHS from Seattle, Washington asks:
    Could you please explain why we do not have an eclipse each time we have a new moon?

    Ok, I'm going to try to answer this question, but it's a tough one to answer without showing some pictures. We don't have an eclipse every time we have a new moon because the orbits of the Earth and Moon do not line up exactly on the same plane. That is, the Moon must be exactly opposite Earth (not a little 'north' or 'south') for an eclipse to occur.

    Chris Grugel - Chat Guest at Carthage from Kenosha, WI asks:
    I know there's water on Europa, but is it too cold to support life?

    The water underneath the ice crust of Europa might be too cold to support life. It might also be to acidic or not acidic enough, or too salty, or not salty enough, or a host of other things. On the other hand, Europa is pretty close to Jupiter, and the interior is heated by Jupiter's tidal forces. It's possible that this heat keeps the under-surface ocean warm.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    What is your favorite thing or most interesting thing on Mars? about Mars

    My favorite thing about Mars is the fact that it seems like a place to me - as real as my own home, or as real as any of the other places I've been to physically.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin writes:
    We would like to thank every one who participated in the chat, especially Dr. Yingst. There were quite a few intriguing questions. Unfortunately there were many more than we could get to. Fortunately, Dr. Yingst has agreed to stay on for another 15 minutes. The chat will close at 11:45 AM CDT, after which a log of the entire chat will be posted.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    Why are all the planets round?

    Ooo, this is a basic physics question. All the planets are round because of the way gravity works - it draws all things towards the center of a planet, which means that the most "efficient" shape for a planet is a sphere.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    why is mars called mars

    Mars was given many, many names by the different cultures that have lived on Earth. We call it Mars now probably because the Romans (who pretty much conquered most of the western world) called it Mars. Since they were in charge, their name for the planet is the one that stuck. They called it Mars because its red color reminded them of their god of war.

    Mellonie Warren - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    did Nasa already send monkeys to Mars?

    Nope, only robots have been sent to Mars. We've never sent a living thing to Mars.

    Cindy Byers - Teacher at Rosholt Middle School from Rosholt, Wisconsin asks:
    When will a mission bring rocks or ice back from Mars?

    Good question. The next mission that is supposed to bring samples back from Mars is supposed to fly in the next five years.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    DOES SPACE HAVE AN END TO IT?

    We don't know. We don't think so, but we're not sure.

    Many students from the Mars Exploration Team - Chat Guest at Lincoln HS from Manitowoc, WI asks:
    how many times did we "REALLY" land on the moon

    We really landed on the Moon dozens of times. Humans landed on the Moon six times.

    lisa markevich - Chat Guest at harlan from bloomfield hills, mi asks:
    Would any thing ever be able to destroy our sun?

    Nothing that we know of could destroy our Sun, but someday our Sun will spend all its fuel and die. That will be at least 4-5 billion years form now, though.

    Joan Thomas - Chat Guest at Hillcrest Middle School from Trumbull, Connecticut asks:
    If you grew vegetation on Mars would it survive?

    If you grew plants on Mars without some sort of protection, they would die immediately. The atmosphere on Mars is not thick enough to provide enough insulating heat or protection from solar radiation.

    Jason Daniels - Chat Guest at kBeach from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    How much gas is on Mars?

    The martian atmosphere is about 7/1000 the pressure of Earth's atmosphere. There is no oxygen on Mars.

    Shery Bennett - Chat Guest at Barton Elementary from Lake Worth, Fl asks:
    Didn't scientists find some living organisms from Mars within the rocks??

    Scientists found evidence for what might be the remains of organisms inside a martian rock that is about 3 billion years old. Again, not every scientist is convinced by the evidence presented.

    Mellonie Warren - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    Thank you for staying for 15 more minutes

    Sure, no problem. We started late, it seemed only fair.

    Jason Daniels - Chat Guest at kBeach from Soldotna, Alaska asks:
    How long is a year on Jupiter? (Quinn)

    About 12 years on Earth, I think.

    Joan Thomas - Chat Guest at Hillcrest Middle School from Trumbull, CT asks:
    What do the moons do for the planets?

    Hm. The moons have an effect on other planets, mostly from the gravity they exert. That's why the Earth has tides, for instance, because we have a moon that is pretty big compared to how big Earth is. For a planet like Jupiter, the moons are so small in comparison that they don't affect the planet much at all.

    Shery Bennett - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    is pluto a real planet

    It depends on who you ask. We don't actually have an official definition for what a planet is. Some scientists think Pluto is too small and too icy to be considered a planet. They would consider it a very large planetesimal. Others say that Pluto orbits the Sun in a farily regular orbit and has its own moon, so it is a planet. I think you can choose to call it a planet if you want.

    Carlos Roiz - Teacher at Benito Juarez Elementary from Crystal City, Texas asks:
    HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU GOT INTERESTED IN SPACE EXPLORATION?

    I've been interested in space exploration since I was three years old.

    Mellonie Warren - Teacher at Barton Elementary School from Lake Worth, Florida asks:
    How did the red spot on jupiter get there

    We have no idea. Jupiter has many storms similar to the great red spot, but none of them are as large or as long-lived.

    Laura Margolis - Chat Guest at ridley from Folsom, PA asks:
    How do you classify a planet?

    Again, there's no hard and fast rule for defining a planet as opposed to a planetesimal. Objects like Jupiter are clearly planets because they orbit the Sun (as opposed to orbiting another planet) in a regular, nearly circular orbit, and because it has its own moons. And, I suppose, because it's bigger than a comet or asteroid.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin writes:
    Once again, we'd like to thank everyone for participating. And we would like to thank Dr. Yingst. The chat room will be closing shortly, but a log of this chat will be available.

    Donald Hanson - Chat Guest at SHS from Seattle, Washington asks:
    thank you for your time Santos High School signing off

    Goodbye and take care all.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin writes:
    10/1/2003 11:52:23 AM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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