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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (yingstsummer Chat Log)During this online chat, 37 questions were asked by 5 schools. There were 6 adults and 4 students involved in this chat.

    Hosted by Dr. R. Aileen Yingst of NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 06/24/05 at 08:29.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Dr. Yingst- thank you so much for making yourself available to talk to these young ladies. What advice can you give to young girls (1st and 2nd grade) about the types of careers available to them?

    The best advice I can give is to learn as much as you can in school. Don't be afraid to make mistakes - that's the best way to learn. If you do that, any career is open to you!

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    A parent of a young lady wanted to know if a human would weigh less or more than they do on Earth?

    Every planet has a different mass (how much stuff is inside) and that's what determines how much gravity the planet will exert on a person (how hard it pulls on you). So on the Moon, you weigh less than on Earth, but on Jupiter you would weigh more.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Do you believe that a female astronaut will get to walk on the moon in the near future?

    Yes, I do.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    What percentage of planetary geologists are women? Is this percentage increasing or decreasing?

    I'm not sure what the actual percentage is, but I know for sure it is increasing. My graduating class was 60% women. But the number of women in the field is still somewhat small.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Does any of your research suggest that life does exist (or may have existed) on Mars or one of Jupiter's icy moons?

    At this point, all we can say is that conditions on Mars or Europa might once have been conducive to supporting life. There's a lot more information we need before we can answer that question.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How did you become interested in the field of planetary geology?

    I've always been interested in space science, since I was 3. But I took my first geology class my Junior year in college!

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How many rings go around Saturn?

    There are thousands of rings around Saturn. I recommend that anyone who wants to know the latest about Saturn go check out the cassini website!

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How many times does the moon go around the earth in a day?

    The Moon takes 28 days to go around the Earth - which is exactly how much time it takes to spin on its axis once.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How many years were you in college and what kind of classes did you take?

    I was in college for four years and graduated with a major in physics, so I took physics and math courses. But I also minored in geology. I spent 5 years getting my PhD.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How many planets are there in the universe?

    No one knows, but to date, we've found 134 planets outside our own solar system.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Is there water under the ground on Earth? Is there water under the ground on Mars?

    Yes, there's lots of water underground on Earth - that's why we often dig wells to get water into our houses. There might be water underground on Mars, but we aren't sure. If there was, it would be frozen solid. Mars is pretty cold.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Where did the moon come from?

    We're not sure! There are at least four hypotheses (ideas supported by some evidence) that scientists are looking at right now, but the most popular one is that an object the size of Mars hit the Earth way back in the early history of the Solar System. The material that flew off the Earth after that collision went into orbit around the Earth and eventually came together to make the Moon.

    Hannah - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    In what way would you like to see women in the space industry advance?

    I would like to see women be given the same opportunities to work the high profile jobs as men. Most women in the field are younger than the most experienced men, and the men get more of the high profile jobs because they've been around longer. I'd like to see NASA take more risks hiring young folks, many of whom are women. I would also like to see a change in how science is done - less emphasis on publishing as many papers as possible, and more emphasis on doing important work.

    Ava - Chat Guest at from Spooner, WI asks:
    When do you think humans will walk on the moon again? or Mars?

    I think it will be about 20 years before we get to the Moon again, but I hope I'm wrong. It could be as many as 50 years before we get to Mars. It depends on what our priorities are as a nation.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Have you ever thought about becoming an astronaut?

    Yes, many times. But I have children now, and I'm not willing to take such a high risk job anymore.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    What's on Mars?

    Lots of things! Old volcanoes three times higher than the highest jet plane flies, canyons as long as the United States, ice caps made of carbon dioxide....Mars is a cool place.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Did you like science and math classes when you were in elementary school?

    Hm. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. I'll tell you honestly, though, I hated math in college. But I really wanted to do what I'm doing, so I took the classes and worked hard and did as well as I could - which wasn't always as well as I would have wanted.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How cold is Mars?

    It can get up to a balmy 60 degrees on a hot summer day, but it's usually over a hundred degrees below freezing.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    With your involvement in multiple Mars missions, what excites you the most about Mars?

    That's a tough one. I think the fact that it is really becoming a place that we know something about and that we might want to visit someday.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Could you please tell us about the project your currently working on?

    I'm one of several scientists who are designing a camera to fly to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory rover in 2009. The camera will take pictures of Mars at the microscopic scale, much like a geologist would look at rocks with a magnifying glass to be able to see all the grains in the rock. It will help us identify the minerals that make up the rocks.

    David - Chat Guest at Westword Middle School from , asks:
    If you could pick between going to the Moon or Mars, which would you visit?

    If time getting there weren't a factor, I guess I'd pick Mars, but it would be a very close call - both are so interesting in different ways!

    Jonathan - Chat Guest at from Green Bay, WI asks:
    How did you get to work on Missions to Mars?

    After getting the schooling required, I got to know a lot of people in the field. They got to know my expertise and worked with me on other projects, so when it came time for them to put a mission together, they asked me if I wanted to join because they knew what I was good at and how I could help them.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How many moons are in the solar system?

    They are always discovering more moons, but I think the count is over 100 now.

    Hannah - Chat Guest at from , asks:
    Is there any one mission/topic you feel is not as big of a focus as it should be? Why?

    I think instead of focusing on getting people to "land on Mars" we should have a more long-term vision of the exploration of space. We should look at it as the broad topic it is, rather than as a set of unconnected "things to do".

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    How hot is the sun?

    The Sun is not one temperature - different layers have different temperatures, but some layers are millions of degrees.

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, 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. R. Aileen Yingst for being our chat host today.

    Jonathan - Chat Guest at from Green Bay, WI asks:
    In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing on Mars?

    Yikes. If I had to pick a feature, I would pick gullies. These are places where subsurface water might have melted very recently and poured down into a crater valley. A neat place to look for past life!

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    What's the difference between an inner and outer planet?

    An inner planet is made of materials we think of as rock, while the outer planets are mostly gaseous - hydrogen and helium.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Are we just finding more moons or are there more moons forming all the time?

    We're just finding more moons the more we explore.

    Anthony Marinelli - Guest Teacher at Willoughby Middle School from Willoughby, Ohio asks:
    Thank you for your time. The young ladies in our group enjoyed the experience.

    I'm so glad!

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    Visit http://www.space-explorers.com/internal/events/ to learn about more exciting events and activities your classroom can explore. Check back next fall for more exciting chat opportunities!

    Hollie Miller - Moderator at Space Explorers, Inc. from Depere, Wisconsin comments:
    6/24/2005 8:58:07 AM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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