November 1, 1999
QuestChat with Grant Palmer
Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
- 2 - 09:34:47 ]
Hello! Today's Aerospace Team Online QuestChat will feature Computational
Fluid Dynamics Engineer Grant Palmer from NASA's Ames Research Center. The
chat will begin at 10 am, Pacific (1 pm, Eastern). Be sure to read Grant's
profile before coming to the chat: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html
- 5 - 10:02:43 ]
When you were a kid and into model rocketry, were you in a club? Did
you work with rockets that went really high? Did you get interested in
the math part of model rocketry?
I got interested in model rocketry because some kids on the swim team
I was on were interested. I never belonged to a club. I was pretty young
when I did it, so I wasn't really interested in the math part at that
- 8 - 10:05:20 ]
RE: [Sean-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary] How
are dust storms caused on Mars? Is there that much atmosphere?
I think dust storms are caused on Mars by the same things that cause them
here on earth, namely high winds. The atmosphere on Mars is much less
dense than here on Earth. People would need a pressure suit to walk around
- 10 - 10:05:59 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] Sean: Grant writes computer
programs that predict how hot the surface of the space shuttle will get
when it returns to Earth from space. His work does not focus on Mars!
That's okay. I don't mind answering general interest questions too.
- 11 - 10:08:05 ]
RE: [GrantPalmer/ARC] That's okay. I don't mind answering
general interest questions too.
Oops, sorry about that Sean and Grant! I guess I should've read Grant's
bio more closely myself!
- 13 - 10:10:34 ]
How are you so certain that your computer models work compared to reality?
You are never certain until you compare them against either experimental
data or flight data. Sometimes there are space missions whose only purpose
is to gather some temperature or pressure data that can be used to determine
whether the computer codes are working properly. It's easy to make a mistake
when running the computer model that gives you a totally wrong answer.
You always check the solution.
- 16 - 10:14:53 ]
RE: [Steven-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary] We're
working on the Mars Millenium Project. Any advice or tips that you can
give us about the types of materials we should consider using in building
Well, the materials will have to be strong but light. It's very expensive
to ship material to Mars. Every pound you can save makes a big difference.
The material would have to able to withstand the erosion due to the dust
storms. It might be a good idea to think of some material you could manufacture
- 17 - 10:15:33 ]
FYI: I can see by your questions that there is also an interest in Mars
today! I now know that Grant can also answer Mars-related questions (!),
but I also wanted to point you to Quest's Mars Millennium chat series
at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/sso/chats/sched2.html :-)
- 19 - 10:16:46 ]
RE: [Sean-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary] About
how long does it take to make the space vehicles from the time you start
making plans until the vehicles are finished?
It depends how motivated the government or private industry are to build
them. I've been working on some technology demonstration vehicles, the
so-called X-vehicles. The X-34 for instance is a space plane that will
be planned, built, and flown in the space of about five years. The Space
Shuttle took about 10 years to plan and build.
- 20 - 10:17:59 ]
RE: [Brittany-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary] This
isn't about your job, but we saw your web page and we liked your jokes.
Your son is cute too.
Thanks, my sister Diana sends me most of the jokes. I use the web page
mostly to send pictures of my family to people who don't live near us.
[ MrsCaison-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary - 23
- 10:23:43 ]
We have to go now. The students have another class they must attend --
PE. Keeping them physically fit, you know.
- 24 - 10:23:47 ]
RE: [MaryAnn-Mrs.Caison/ElkinElementary] My
teacher told me that her son works with a computer program called "3do
max" or something like that. He can make 3d graphics that he can rotate
and stuff. Is your computer program like it that you design spacecraft
We use programs like that to visualize our results. The results that come
out of the fluid dynamics program is just an enormous pile of numbers.
To make sense out of it, we use programs like 3do.max to see, for instance
the variation of temperature on the surface of the vehicle.
- 25 - 10:25:19 ]
If you could, would you move to Mars and work there to design space
I would, but I don't know if I would want to live there permanently. Mars
is a cold, lifeless planet. It would be cool to explore Mars and maybe
you could build big pressure domes where you could have plants and animals.
I think I would miss the Earth after a while.
- 26 - 10:27:49 ]
We have to go now. The students have another class they must attend
-- PE. Keeping them physically fit, you know.
Goodbye Mrs. Caison! Thanks so much for joining us today! Your kids asked
some good questions! Don't forget to let the Quest team know how they're
doing with their chats by filling out a short survey at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys
- 27 - 10:29:54 ]
Grant's chat will be archived later today. You can get to it by going
to his profile. Don't forget to check out the Mars Millennium Chat Series
- 28 - 10:36:23 ]
Thanks for asking me those questions. You seem to know a lot about space.
Feel free to email me if you have any more questions: firstname.lastname@example.org