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August 11, 1998
QuestChat with Grant Palmer

Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA


Tue Aug 11 10:47:10 1998

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 0 - 09:07:41 ]
Hello to our early arriving Aerospace Team Online participants! The Aerospace Team Online chat with Grant Palmer from NASA Ames Research Center will begin in approximately 20 minutes. Be sure you have read Grant's autobiography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html before joining this chat. Once the chat begins, Grant will attempt to answer as many of your questions as he can, but please be patient. We ask that you post one question at a time, and please wait a few minutes before posting new questions. This will greatly help us to keep up with and answer your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 2 - 09:27:06 ]
In the event that we begin to receive too many questions during the chat, the chat may be "moderated." This means that only a few questions will be posted at a time, until Grant can catch up with us. So we again ask that you give Grant time to answer your questions before submitting new ones. As a reminder, please remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided, before posting questions to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 09:28:24 ]
RE: [Brian] I haven't ever done this before. My handle is BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool
Brian, be sure to enter BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool as your handle for today's chat. Thanks for joining us!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 6 - 09:29:16 ]
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Brian, be sure to enter BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool as your handle for today's chat. Thanks for joining us!
Hello Brian

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 09:30:11 ]
Welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Grant Palmer from NASA Ames Research Center! When a spacecraft such as the space shuttle returns to Earth from space, the friction caused by the air rushing past the surface of a vehicle causes it to heat up. Grant writes computer programs that predict how hot the vehicle surface will get. Grant's work is part of a larger process called computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His work is important because without CFD, spacecraft designers would have to guess how hot a vehicle would get. If their guesses are wrong, a vehicle would either be heavier than it had to be or get damaged when it returned to Earth.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 9 - 09:30:57 ]
And now, here is Grant Palmer to answer your questions.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 10 - 09:31:12 ]
RE: [BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Ok. Thanks! When can we start asking questions? (Even though that is a question :-)
I'm ready for questions, Brian, fire away

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 12 - 09:34:03 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Ok. Thanks, good morning. My question is when in applying to work at NASA did you find that you wanted to work in the field of Computation Fluid Dynamics.
I was actually hired to do something else, mission planning work. But I liked computers and computational fluid dynamics sounded cool so I moved into that

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 14 - 09:35:30 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] hi
Hi, Chris

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 15 - 09:35:30 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] hi
Welcome, Chris! Grant Palmer is online to answer your questions today.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 19 - 09:37:56 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] What spacecraft have you worked on other than the Orbiter?
I mostly work on vehicles that haven't been built yet, so-called X-vehicles. Recently I have worked on the X-33, a half-scale version of a vehicle that might take the place of the Space Shuttle someday, the X-34, a smaller spaceplane that will test new technologies. There are a lot of small companies popping up that want to build space planes and I will be helping them with their design

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 22 - 09:40:47 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] That's sounds cool. I think it's really neat that NASA works with so many companies on projects.
That's NASA's new way of doing things. Instead of just working on things that we decide to work on, we are using our knowledge and skills to help companies develop new technologies. We still do some basic research.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 24 - 09:42:02 ]
RE: [AirForce15] so Grant you are working with astronute
I don't work with astronauts, but I applied to be an astronaut once. I didn't get very far in the process and was rejected on medical reasons. The hardest thing to pass in the astronaut screening process is the medical part.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 26 - 09:43:59 ]
Oh!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 27 - 09:44:21 ]
RE: [AirForce15] So, grant how fast is the x-33
The X-33 was designed to fly at Mach 15, that's 15 times the speed of sound. Jet airplanes that people fly around in generally fly at around Mach 0.7 or less. The first flight of the X-33 will fly at Mach 2, later flights will fly at Mach 8. It's still not clear whether they will test the vehicle at the Mach 15 design limit.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 30 - 09:46:01 ]
Cool!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 31 - 09:47:04 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] If you don't mind me asking Grant, what were you rejected for. I had glocoma when I was very little but I had surgery and it was totally removed.
I once had an intestinal disease called ulcerative colitis. I'm better now, but that is one of the things they reject you for. I don't know about glaucoma. Applying for the astronaut program was still pretty fun. Some friends of mine have gotten to the point of being invited to NASA Johnson in Houston for the next level of selection

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 32 - 09:48:00 ]
Cool!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 35 - 09:50:48 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant, is Any space craft, ever beat the recorde of x-33
When the space shuttle comes back to earth, it reaches speeds, I think, of around Mach 25. The X-33 wasn't designed to beat a speed record. It's purpose is to demonstrate technologies that will make it cheaper to bring payloads up to earth's orbit. The space shuttle works fine, but it is very expensive to operate

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 36 - 09:51:47 ]
Oh!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 37 - 09:51:51 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] I have a friend whos aunt is a really good friend of Steve Robinson. He is a Mission Specialist who flew on STS 85 and will fly on STS - 95.
That's really cool. What did he do when he was on STS 85?

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 39 - 09:53:11 ]
Well, one second. I'll go get something.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 47 - 09:59:41 ]
This would sum up what they did on STS 85

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 48 - 09:59:41 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] The deployment and retrieval of a satellite designed to study Earth's middle atmosphere along with a test of potential International Space Station hardware will highlight NASA's sixth Shuttle mission of 1997. Discovery's robot arm to deploy the CRISTA-SPAS payload for about 9 days of free-flight. CRISTA-SPAS consists of three telescopes and four spectrometers that will measure trace gases and dynamics of the Earth's middle atmosphere. Two other instruments mounted on the SPAS also will study the Earth's atmosphere. The Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Instrument (MAHRSI) will measure hydroxyl and nitric oxide by sensing UV radiation emitted and scattered by the atmosphere, while the Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM) is a passive carrier for state-of-the-art optical surfaces to study the impact of the atomic oxygen and the space environment on materials and services. Another experiment onboard STS-85 is the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS-01) from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) along with scientific collaborators from JPL, APL, and the University of Maryland The Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount (MIM) experiment will be operated by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason. Several Hitchhiker payloads, including the Technology Applications and Science Payload (TAS-01), the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (SEH), and the Ultraviolet Spectrograph Telescope for Astronomical Research (UVSTAR) will be housed in Discovery's payload bay, operating independently of crew support during the flight. The deployment and retrieval of a satellite designed to study Earth's middle atmosphere along with a test of potential International Space Station hardware will highlight NASA's sixth Shuttle mission of 1997. The prime payload for the flight, the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-2) is making its second flight on the Space Shuttle (previous flight STS-66 in 1994) and is the fourth mission in a cooperative venture between the German Space Agency (DARA) and NASA. During the flight, Davis used Discovery's robot arm to deploy the CRISTA-SPAS payload for about 9 days of free-flight. CRISTA-SPAS consists of three telescopes and four spectrometers that will measure trace gases and dynamics of the Earth's middle atmosphere. Davis also will operate the robot arm for CRISTA-SPAS retrieval. The Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS) on which the scientific instruments are mounted is a self-contained platform that provides power, command, control and communication with Discovery during free-flight. Two other instruments mounted on the SPAS also will study the Earth's atmosphere. The Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Instrument (MAHRSI) will measure hydroxyl and nitric oxide by sensing UV radiation emitted and scattered by the atmosphere, while the Surface Effects Sample Monitor (SESAM) is a passive carrier for state-of-the-art optical surfaces to study the impact of the atomic oxygen and the space environment on materials and services. The crew also will support the Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) experiment being sponsored by NASDA, the Japanese Space Agency. MFD consists of three separate experiments located on a support truss in the payload bay. The primary objective is to demonstrate the newly designed dexterous robot arm in the space environment, before installing on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) of the International Space Station.
Well, I can't add anything to that. . .

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 41 - 09:55:34 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Grant, do you know how fast the Voyager Spacecraft is?
Planetary spacecraft travel very fast. They are designed to because the faster they go, the less time it takes them to get to the planets. Some Mars return mission vehicles will be traveling 13,000 km/hr when they return to the earth's atmosphere. If I did the math right, that is 29,000 mi/hr

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 43 - 09:56:40 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant, do nasa have any new fighter plane?
NASA doesn't build fighter planes. But NASA does have wind tunnels that help test them and people like me do computational fluid dynamic analysis on them to figure out how well they will perform

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 44 - 09:58:19 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] So grant when you flying around mach 25, from the space shuttle how much g-force do you feel?
The space shuttle trajectory is designed to keep the g-loads within some value. If the shuttle came straight down, the g-loads would be too high, so what it does is take more time coming down flying a flatter trajectory to reduce the g-loads

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 46 - 09:59:00 ]
Cool

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 51 - 10:02:31 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Grant, how many Gs do Astronauts experience when they are taking off and landing?
I don't know for sure, but I think they can experience g-loads in the 2-5 range, not too uncomfortable but you wouldn't want to have to move around much during it.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 53 - 10:04:07 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] I copied and pasted it off of the STS Mission Summery.
Sounds like your Aunt's friend was busy when he was on his mission. Some people here at Ames work on preparing experiments for the shuttle. One recent one was the neurolab experiment, where they sent up jellyfish and rats and tested how their bodies and brains reacted to being up in space.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 55 - 10:06:27 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] how hot is a space shuttle, if the space shuttle will come back to the earth
The surface of the shuttle reaches temperatures of 3000 F in some locations when it returns through the earth's atmosphere. As it continues to descend, the velocity decreases and the temperature drops off. By the time it is back on earth the temperature has decreased a lot, but you would probably still not want to touch it. To protect the vehicle from the high temperatures the vehicle is covered with ceramic tiles and blankets.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 57 - 10:07:40 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Grant, do you give out your software that you create to other companies, or do you just do the work for them?
Anything we develop here at NASA is in the public domain, that means it is free to anyone from this country who asks for it. We don't work for the companies so much as we team up with them to design a vehicle.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 61 - 10:09:14 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Grant, wouldn't mammals and fish die or something without any suits or anything for the 5 Gs?
One of the things the people did here at Ames was to design tanks and cages that would allow the jellyfish and rats to live during the mission. Some of the rats did die during the flight.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 64 - 10:10:11 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant can nasa creat an aircraft, or spacecraft that is faster than light?
Not right now. The speed of light is so fast that, according to our current understanding of the physical world, nothing is faster than the speed of light.

BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 59 - 10:08:25 ]
Nothing is faster than light.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 60 - 10:08:42 ]
Can I try to explain?

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 63 - 10:10:04 ]
sure

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 66 - 10:11:22 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Oh, wait, nevermind. I forgot why. Doesn't nature have a natural braking system, like the faster it goes the heavier it becomes so the more power is needed to push it or something?
I believe that is the theory. Actually there are some theoretical, I don't think they have been proven, called tachyons that do travel faster than light.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 67 - 10:12:19 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] What makes humans different that we can withstand a few Gs?
Actually, humans are pretty frail when it comes to g-loads. For instance, you can subject an insect to g-loads that would kill a person and the bug comes through just fine.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 69 - 10:12:50 ]
Oh, that's interesting.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 70 - 10:13:53 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant, Can any human being can creat a space craft that is faster than light?
Not right now, but you should never say never. 100 years ago some famous physicists "proved" that heavier than air flight, airplanes, were impossible.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 72 - 10:17:36 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Where do you live Grant, like relative to a Space Center?
I live in Cupertino, CA about 5 miles from the NASA Ames Research Center.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 74 - 10:18:11 ]
Cool.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 75 - 10:18:28 ]
LOL Chris!!!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 77 - 10:20:09 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] grant, do you know, is area 51 in nevada doesn't exist
All I know about that is from watching the X-files. NASA is a civilian space agency. They don't tell us much about the classified stuff.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 78 - 10:21:01 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Maybe Grant is one of their agents.
I'd be a lousy agent because I talk too much and can't lie very well.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 80 - 10:21:12 ]
i heard that area 51 can make an ufo that is faster than light

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 87 - 10:23:08 ]
Do you have any more questions for me, Brian and Chris?

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 88 - 10:24:12 ]
yes

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 94 - 10:29:00 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] how deffirent is nasa, to military
NASA is much smaller than the military and there is less secrecy than with the military. People at NASA mostly do research or operate facilities. People in the military do that as well as see to the defense of the country. People in NASA don't have ranks, don't wear uniforms, don't salute people, and don't have to go through basic training

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 95 - 10:30:04 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] do, nasa help military, like airforce?
NASA and the Air Force work on joint projects like desiging a new jet airplane or a new engine.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 97 - 10:30:12 ]
Oh!

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 101 - 10:31:32 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant, in what way can you go to airforce, nasa, or any thing the can work with aircraft?
The best way to join NASA is to go to college and get a degree. NASA sometimes sponsors high school and college students. The students work over the summer. It's a good way to meet people at NASA and figure out if you like it. Joining the air force is easy, just volunteer.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 107 - 10:33:55 ]
RE: [Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool] Are you working on any spacecraft that will go to the Moon?
Yeah, thanks for joining me today. NASA doesn't have any current plans to go back to the moon. There was the lunar prospector mission a few months ago. There is a lot more theoretical work going on these days on Mars missions, both manned and unmanned.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 114 - 10:37:19 ]
RE: [Chris-AirForce15] Grant, do nasa search ufo too or alien, too?
One of the reasons for going to Mars is to search for signs of life. If you remember, someone discovered a meteorite from Mars in the arctic. When people looked at it, some people thought it showed fossilized signs of life. Other people disagreed. One way to resolve this is to send a probe to Mars and dig into the soil there looking for fossils. That is not exactly searching for ufos but it is searching for alien life.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 115 - 10:39:02 ]
RE: [Brian] When applying for NASA, how did you find out that you wanted to work with Computation Fluid Dynamics?
The branch I was working for did many things, one of which was computational fluid dynamics. I had never heard of it before I was hired. I liked computers and I liked programming and computational fluid dynamics is something where you can be creative and think of things no one else has thought of before.

[ GrantPalmer/ARC - 116 - 10:41:37 ]
RE: [Chris] in what way can i discover, any thing about aircraft
You can find out a lot of things on the web. Check out NASA's website, there is probably a link from this site [http://www.nasa.gov]. If you want some hands-on experience, you can build model airplanes and see what happens if you change the size or shape of the wing for instance.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 104 - 10:33:11 ]
Oh!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 98 - 10:30:36 ]
Brian and Chris, we would like to thank you for joining us for today's Aerospace Team Online chat.

[ Chris-AirForce15 - 100 - 10:31:22 ]
oran, your welcome

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 102 - 10:31:48 ]
We would also like to know what you thought of today's chat. Please go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys and take a few minutes to give us your comments about today's ADTO chat with Grant Palmer.

[ Brian-BrianCollar/SetonMiddleSchool - 105 - 10:33:16 ]
Thanks for chatting Grant.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 106 - 10:33:34 ]
At this time, we will be ending our chat with Grant Palmer. Thank you again for joining us today and for your great questions!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 108 - 10:34:01 ]
A very special thanks to Grant Palmer for chatting with us online today!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 112 - 10:36:23 ]
RE: [Chris] is the chat is done
Chris, yes, thank you for joining us today.

[ Brian - 118 - 10:47:11 ]
Thanks for chatting with us Grant.

[ chris - 119 - 10:47:11 ]
thank you for chating with grant palmer, and the host of this chat

 
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