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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (yingst2007 Chat Log)During this online chat, 102 questions were asked by 8 schools. There were 41 adults and 3 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Dr. Aileen Yingst of the Mars Exploration Team

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 04/11/07 at 12:30.

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

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    how do you feel about going to Mars.

    I wish I could go to Mars! The only way I can do that right now is to be a part of robot missions that go to Mars. I think I have the coolest job in the world.

    Steve Steffensen - Teacher at Kodiak Christian School from Kodiak, Alaska asks:
    What are the most common and most rare elements found on Mars? Any gold?

    So far we haven't found any gold on Mars. We haven't really looked that hard for it, though. More important elements are those that make up water, and other things we might be able to use as resources when we get to Mars.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Can we grow food on Mars.

    Not yet. We'd have to set up a greenhouse of some sort, and bring at least some sort of medium to grow plants in. Mars is pretty cold.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    is there oxygen to breathe on Mars.

    No. The atmosphere is very thin and almost completely made of carbon dioxide (the stuff we breathe out).

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    how long does it takes to get to Mars

    It depends on how fast you're going. With our technology right now, it would take us about 11 months to get to Mars.

    Clyde Lee - Teacher at Stikine Middle School from Wrangell, Alaska asks:
    What is the likelihood that we, humans, will ever live on Mars, the Moon, or any other planet?

    That depends on what we as humans decide we want to do. If we want to live on other planets, we'll do it. There is no sense that technology would stand in our way.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Could the temperature on Mars support earth life? - Kyle LeBlanc

    Not as it is right now. It's much too cold.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Would the planet be able to agriculturally support itself? - Kathryn Lethbridge

    Not yet. We do have the technology now to bring some of that agriculture with us to Mars, but it's very expensive!

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    did you find water

    There isn't a simple answer to this question. The rovers found rocks that require water in order to form. There are also many new pictures we've taken from orbit that seem to indicate that water was flowing recently on the surface (like sometime in the last year!).

    Pat Trotter - Teacher at Baxter Community School from Baxter, Iowa asks:
    What has been your most exciting part of you job?

    The most exciting part of my job has been being one of the people who send commands up to the Mars Rovers.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    What natural resources would be available on Mars besides iron? - Josh Pent

    We're not sure yet, that's why we're sending so many spacecraft to Mars. We might have water there (at least in the form of ice) or it might be too far under the surface to be useful. We don't know yet.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    If there was sufficient water supply, what plants would be most likely to grow on Mars? - Kathryn Lethbridge

    We don't know the answer to that yet. They would have to be pretty hardy and not afraid of the cold!

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    does NASA have a meaning what is it?

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is a civilian organization.

    Patricia Novy - Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    Of all the moons, which would support a human habitat?

    We're not sure about that yet. There are over 90 to choose from in the Solar System, though, so we have plenty of real estate to look at.

    Pat Trotter - Teacher at Baxter Community School from Baxter, Iowa asks:
    When did you get interested in the space program?

    I've always been interested in space science. I think I was my daughter's age when I first became interested (she's 2).

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    What do you think caused the water on Mars to dry out? - Rachel Cope

    Our best guess right now is that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere, but some of it escaped to space, and some of it just froze out. Without that atmospheric pressure, liquid water couldn't survive on Mars.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    whats it like in your station?

    Hm. Not sure what this means. I work at a University. I have a computer and two monitors and that's pretty much all I need to drive the rover. When I'm not doing that I work from my laptop or I do fieldwork (look at rocks out in the field). Right now I'm sitting on my living room floor.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    is Mars the best planet to go to beside earth.

    If you want to set up a place to live, Mars is probably your best bet. It's farther away from the Sun, but it's got the chance for water. Another good choice is the Moon, since it's so close. That makes getting material to it much cheaper than sending things all the way to Mars or even further!

    Patricia Novy - Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    What natural occuring materials on Mars could be used as building and/or living materials for future colonies?

    I think we could probably use most of the surface materials on Mars to build at least places to live. Just like on Earth, where native populations use what's at hand to build shelter, there's no reason we couldn't do that on Mars.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    How long would you be able to stay on Mars?

    That depends on what you brought with you! Right now you have to bring everything you need to survive.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    If we were near the sun what would happen

    Well, the Sun is pretty hot - Mercury is near the Sun and it's too hot to support life.

    Patricia Novy - Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    Would a habitat, such as the Biosphere built outside of Oracle, Arizona, be used on the Moon?

    I suspect some of the technologies tested at Biosphere might be used on a lunar or martian colony.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    How long do you think it will be until we are able to put a human on Mars? - Rachel Cope

    We could do it today if we wanted to. It's a question of what we decide our priorities are. What do we want to spend our time, effort and money doing?

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    How does the earth has an earthquake?

    There is an earthquake every time rocks in the interior of the Earth get "stuck" as they move past each other and then get "unstuck". That getting unstuck is an earthquake.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    when is thenext shuttle launch

    I'm not sure, but I suppose you could look it up pretty quickly on the Internet.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    With Mars' sever temperature change, how would we go about building habitats to support human life? - Meesha Munnings

    It would't be easy. But one option is to live underground. That's something we're considering for a Moon base right now.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Are there any specimens on earth - plant or animal - that could withstand Mars harsh atmosphere? - Gentry Maddox

    I'm not sure, I'm not a biologist. But considering there are certain species of plants that live in Antarctica by consuming rocks, that there are animals in the deep oceans and in frozen-over lakes at the Earth's poles - maybe so.

    Patricia Novy - Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    How big would a habitat on Mars or the moon have to be for a small, self-supporting group of pioneers?

    Good question. One of the reasons we want to go back to the Moon is to help answer that. I should think that if four astronauts could live in the International Space Station for over a year, it wouldn't have to be too big.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    was mars hot

    Probably not. It was warmer, we think, but probably not hot.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Have there been any elements found on Mars that could be used for medicine? - Jessica Tellez

    Not that we know of.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Do you see the possibility of creating an atmosphere on Mars in order for life to be supported? - Haley Sterling

    Yes. If we could get enough plants to survive on the surface, an atmosphere would essentially create itself. That's how we think the oxygen got into our atmosphere - through plants respirating.

    Pat Trotter - Teacher at Baxter Community School from Baxter, Iowa asks:
    If you could change anything about what we teach kids, what would it be when it comes to space?

    I would want to help teachers teach "space" as where we live - not an untouchable concept, but a place, our home. Learning about "space" is important because it is our home.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    how big is mars

    Mars is two-thirds the size of Earth.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    How complicated is it to drive the Mars rover? - Ryan Lee

    It takes 20-30 people per rover per day to send commands for a single day's activities. Each instrument has a separate person to send commands; then there are other people who check those commands, put them all together and make sure they make sense and will do what we want them to do. In some ways, it would be easier to have people up there!

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    How far are the stars froms Mars?-Tashaun

    Just about as far as they are from Earth.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    who were the first people on mars?

    No one has ever been to Mars.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Will the scientest ever find out if there is any life on Mars

    This scientist plans to find out.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Was the water that was found toxic? - Josh Pent

    You mean, could we drink it? Probably not as is, we'd have to purify it, but we have to do that with most water on Earth, too.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    How long will it take to walk around Mars.

    Well, if Mars is 2/3 the size of Earth, and the Earth is 25,000 miles around, can you figure out the answer?

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    who was the first people on the moon

    Wow. I think this one you should probably look up yourself if you don't know it. I'll answer a different question. The LAST person on the Moon was a geologist, Dr. Harrison Schmitt.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    is the sun a star

    Yes.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Are you able to correct tip-overs with the rover? - Taylor Lightsey

    The rovers don't tip over. Why? Because (1) they are VERY stable, designed to be able to drive over rocks nearly half their size if they need to; (2) we are very careful not to let them tip over. Because no, if the rover tipped over, we couldn't correct the problem.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    how far is Mars to the Earth?-Tashaun

    It depends on where in their orbits Mars and Earth are.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Could peole live on Mars if it had a place for us to breathe

    Sure. If there was oxygen to breathe, and we could figure out a way to bring the water and food we needed, and we could stay warm, we could live on Mars.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    When do you think people may one day inhabit Mars? - Matthew Padovano

    That depends on when we decide we want to do it. I think when we decide that we want to set up a colony on Mars, we'll find the ways and means to do it.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    is pluto a planet?

    It's currently considered a dwarf planet.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    What is the rover doing when not being under human control? - Jessica Tellez

    Sitting there. Seriously, when the rover isn't executing a command, that usually is a time we let it recharge it's solar cells so we can have power for the next day. The rover takes naps.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    what is the best planet

    Earth.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    If there is gravity on earth, why is there no gravity on the other planets

    There is gravity on every planet. Everything that has mass (takes up space) has gravity. Even you.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    how far is Mars from the Sun?-TASHAUN

    128 million miles

    Patricia Novy - Teacher at St. Francis Xavier School from Merrill, Wisconsin asks:
    If you could pick any planet or moon to colonize, which one would you choose and why?

    Our Moon. It's close, it's close, and it's close. That makes everything easier, safer and way cheaper.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    What have been the greatest benefts from the Mars missions? - Ivan Garcia

    The Mars missions have shown that Earth is not unique in having the capacity to sustain life, but that it IS unique in the length of time it could sustain life. It has become abundantly clear how fragile our planet is.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Are there any new rover projects planned? = Kyle LeBlanc

    Yes. Phoenix (not a rover but a lander) launches this year. Mars Science Laboratory (a rover the size of a VW) launches in 2009.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    have you ever been to a different planet

    Nope. No one has. Only to the Moon.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    What would happen if the Eath stopped moving around the sun

    That isn't really possible. Gravity keeps us going around the Sun.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    is Mars the c oldest planet.

    Not by a long shot. The outer planets are so cold that methane freezes.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    On the point of living underground, just how far do the scientist think they would need to go in order to support life? - Meesha Munnings

    We haven't done those experiments yet. It would depend on how far down we'd have to go (on the Moon at least) to avoid things like the high-energy particles of the solar wind and micrometeorites (our magnetic field and atmosphere protect us from most space hazards).

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    howe longe does it take to gate to the moo

    It took the Apollo astronauts a little over two days.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Is there evidence of a water cycle? - Jessica Tellez

    On Mars there is evidence that there WAS a water cycle. But it's too cold now.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Is there evidence of any water below the surface - could it be drilled like oil on Earth? - Ryan Lee

    There is some evidence of water below the surface, we just don't know how far down it is. That's one of the questions the Phoenix mission is meant to answer.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Is the sun the biggest star?

    No way. The Sun is a medium-sized star.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    With the evidence of water having been on Mars, what are the theories of its dissapearance? - Ryan Lee

    The best hypothesis we have is that Mars had a thicker atmosphere, but lost it over time. Without a thick atmosphere - that is, without an atmosphere to keep temperature and pressure conditions where they would need to be - water can't exist as a liquid. So a lot of it probably froze.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    what was your dream ?

    I wanted to go to the Moon.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Are you going to be part of the Phoenix mission? - Ryan Lee

    Yes. I'm part of the education and public outreach effort.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Is there a projected time before plan to send a human to Mars? - Iley Lorne

    I think right now NASA is estimating 2020 for sending humans to Mars. That means anyone in your class could be the first person on Mars.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THE OZONE LAYER WILL LAST

    There's no reason it couldn't last as long as the Earth does, as long as we humans don't do things that harm it.

    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 Dr. Yingst for hosting our chat today.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    What is a black hole

    A black hole is what remains of a supergiant star after it spends all its fuel. It blows up (that's called a supernova) and then the core collapses under the weight of its own gravity, until it becomes so dense that nothing can escape it.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    What information do you know about the solar system

    I know a lot about the Solar System. I went to college and then five years of schooling after that, so that I could learn all I could about the Solar System.

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    What has surprised you most about the Mars Missions besides finding water? - Ivan Garcia

    I think the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that Mars has had such a complex geologic history. It hasn't just been sitting there forever, unchanging. The Moon is more static - Mars has been a busy place, geologically speaking!

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Are you a new astranot?

    I wish!

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Do you visit schools? We would love to have you here!!!!

    That's very sweet! Florida might be a far drive for me, since I'm from Wisconsin...

    Tracy Robinson - Teacher at Lake Placid Middle School from Sebring, Florida asks:
    Thank you so much for your answers. You have taught us a lot and inspired us!!!

    You're welcome. Make sure those kids learn to be as fluent in science as they are in their native language and they'll do alright.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    HOW LONG do you think the earth will last

    I'm going to guess another, say, 5 billion years (that's about how long the Sun is expected to live).

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    why is mars red

    Mars is red because the surface has been "rusted" over time.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    who is the best explorers

    You are.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    where is jupiter

    Hang a left past Mars. If you get to Saturn you've gone too far.

    Sursattee Persaud - Teacher at Ps 149 Danny Kaye School from Brooklyn, New York asks:
    Did you have a team with you?-Tashaun

    I'm definitely part of a team, a very big team. I think at least 30-40 scientists are on the Mars Rover team right now.

    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!

    Elizabeth Schmeisser - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    4/11/2007 1:34:39 PM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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