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Mars Team Online WebChat

Date: October 30, 1996

Featuring: Charles Whetsel
Spacecraft Systems Engineer
Kennedy Space Center


Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 8:57AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hello everyone! Welcome to the first Mars Team Online WebChat. To kick off this series on Mars is Charles Whetsel, a spacecraft systems engineer on the Mars Global Surveyor Project. Today Charles comes to us from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where he and many others are preparing the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft for launch in just 8 days!

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 8:57AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Sandy, I'm on line. All systems Go!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 8:58AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Stayed tuned and we'll be back with you in about 5 minutes...

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 8:59AM PDT (-0800 GMT) dear charles, when will the launch occur?

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Good afternoon Charles. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us today! So what kind of work have you been doing on the spacecraft today?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) CDs Students: If things go as planned, we will launch 1 week and 10 minutes from now!

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:01AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Parker: How do you control the pictures taken from the satellite? Are they still photos or VHS? Can you tell what part of Mars you are photographing?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:01AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Sandy, this morning we have been playing a "what if" game to think of anything that might go wrong on launch day, and figuring out what we would do if it did.

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Parker@Hunters: The pictures come back in a format similar to GIF's or JPEGs that you see on the web. We actually take the pictures like a fax machine works: one line at a time, and then send them back on a radio link.

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, Will the launch be broadcast on PBS?

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:04AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Bill and Brian: Does it take more power to send a picture from Mars to Earth than it does to send it from New York to Washington DC? Does it take more time to send a picture from Mars to Earth than it does to send it from New York to Washington DC?

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:04AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you think a person will go to Mars...Sarah Miles

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:05AM PDT (-0800 GMT) CDS: I'm not sure whether or not the launch will be broadcast on TV as it happens. I suspect that it will be on the evening news afterwards. We'll also try to have an MPEG or QuickTime digital movie available on our home page, http://mgs-www.jpl.nasa.gov

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:05AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi Charles - Question for you: since the equipment for the Mars missions (rover, etc.) will be much smaller than equipment used in previous missions, how will that effect overall payload size and therefore the size/ dimensions and fuel required for the spacecraft in general?

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What did you do to help build the Pathfinder?...Brice Brownell

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, we have several students who are interested in being astronauts.We are now 7th graders, how could we prepare for the future?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) To Sarah Miles: I'm sure that people will go to Mars some day. We have almost all of the technology required today, but we have to balance the cost of pursuing that kind of exploration, with the cost of helping to fix other problems here on earth.

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:07AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Everyone: If your questions don't get answered immediately, don't worry. Charles is typing as fast as he can. I am writing down all of your questions. If we miss one now, we'll answer it at the end of this WebChat.

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:07AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Brian: When will the MGS start sending data from Mars? How long will it be able to send data? What happens to the satellite after that?

Megan: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:08AM PDT (-0800 GMT) HI Mark, this is Megan, looks like I made it.

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:08AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How large in diameter is Mars?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) To Mark: While the MGS spacecraf tis much smaller than previous Mars spacecraft, the science instruments are full-sized. Where we've saved weight is by using the atmosphere of Mars to adjust our orbit for mapping instea dof having to carry a lot of rocket fuel to do it ourselves.

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi Megan! Welcome! Megan is a 10th grader and totally into space and aeronautics.

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Did your model airplanes fly?..Joshua Webb

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) what minerals were in the martion rocks?

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) May we plaease talk to Charles

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles: so the relative of gravity of Mars helps to adjust orbit?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:11AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Brian@Hunters: It will take us about 11 months to get to Mars and another 3-4 months to get into the best orbit to return pictures. After we start taking pictures, we are planning to continue for at least 2 years, although we can probably go for longer than that.

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:13AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles@Nasa do you think we will live on Mrs soon

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:13AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How old are you? What was your fourth grade like?...Michelle Harris, Pamela Smith, Anthony Selna & Tialisa Gump

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:13AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Brice: Mars Pathfinder is another spacecraft going to Mars next month (a lander and rover). I work on Mars Global Surveyor, which launches next week and will stay in orbit above Mars and take pictures from there.

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:14AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Jesse: How do you know that a space projectile won't hit the MGS on its journey?

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:15AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles?

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:15AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles: how many probes have you worked on?

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:15AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles - what kind of cameras are used to take the pictures? Are they in digital form, and how are they sent back to Earth?

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:15AM PDT (-0800 GMT) were you responsible for the challenger?

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:15AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What is your favorite food?...Dominique Kaska

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:16AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael: We have a lot of work to do before we could live on Mars for long periods. The difference between going to Mars and Going to the Moon is like going across a river versus going across and ocean. It takes 3-4 days to get to the moon and we know how to built space-"boats" but it takes 11 months to get to Mars and we need to learn more about space-"ships"

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:16AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Brian: Does the MGS travel in a straight line to get to Mars? HOw do you keep it from hitting anything? How do you get it around objects that might be blocking the path?

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:16AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How do you know what to do to make Pathfinder work?...B.J. Russell

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:17AM PDT (-0800 GMT) sorry for the challenger comment. I got silly. don't answer that

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:17AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael, Hang in there; your questions will be answered shortly. I'm capturing all the questions that don't get answered right away and Charles will answer them before we finish today. There are tons of questions coming in from all over the country! We won't forget you!

ds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:18AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, How long did it take you to design this probe?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:18AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michelle Harris, Pamela Smith, Anthony Selna & Tialisa Gump: I will be 30 years old on November 24th. When I was in 4th grade, I have to admit that I got bored bored sometimes and spent time daydreaming or drawing pictures of rocket ships. I have a friend from college (who also majored in engineering, but then became an Air Force pilot) who has just started training to be an Astronaut. He is very young to have been selected.

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:19AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi we are saskia and lisanne, we go to westlake elementry in santa cruz.

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:20AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles, this is Michael and Michael from Serrano Intermidiate. Our teacher, Mrs. Smith, has talked to you before.

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:20AM PDT (-0800 GMT) will the spacecraft orbit or land?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:21AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael: I read you - Go ahead and ask me a question!!

cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:21AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, whose idea was it to built the mars probe? If if was how long did it take for the idea to be formulated? If not whose idea was it?

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:21AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi Saskia and Lisanne! Welcome to the Mars Team Online WebChat. Charles Whetsel is a spacecraft engineer on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which will launch in just 8 days!

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:21AM PDT (-0800 GMT) will the spacecraft orbit or land?

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:22AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What is the latest status on the MGS project?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:22AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Saskia: Mars Global Surveyor will launch next week and will take pictures of Mars from orbit. Mars Pathfinder will launch next month and will land, and deploy a rover. Both spacecraft will arrive next summer/fall at Mars.

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:23AM PDT (-0800 GMT) will the spacecraft orbit or land?

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles - exactly when is the launch (in eight days), and can I watch it other than on the evening news?

Megan: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How long did it take to design and build the MGS?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael: As of today, the spacecraft is ready to launch and is sitting on top of the Delta rocket on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This weekend, we are going to repeat a few tests of the rocket used to launch us, to double check a test that we performed last week. If that test goes well, we will launch at 12:11 Eastern Time, next Wednesday (11/6)

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Saskia: It may take a few minutes for you to receive an answer from Charles. He is getting a lot of questions from all over the country.

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:25AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long will the mars global surveyor and pathfinder stay there?forever?

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:25AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long will the mars global surveyor and pathfinder stay there?forever?

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:26AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How large is that rocket and how long will it's voyage take?

John Bayne (Student): . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT)

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Parker: How do you determine in which direction and at what angle to launch the MGS to get it to Mars?

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long have you been working on this project

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long have you been working on this project

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Welcome John Bayne! Do you have a questions for Charles?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:28AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Questions on getting to Mars & Hitting stuff: To get to Mars, we launch the spacecraft into an egg-shaped orbit around the Sun, who's closest point to the Sun just touches the Earth's orbit, and who's furthest orbit just touches Mars' orbit. When we get to Mars, we have to use our rockets to slow down or else we would zip past Mars. In general, we don't have to worry abouting hitting space junk between here and Mars, although the shuttle and other Earth orbiters do. If orbiting the earth is like driving in rush hour, interplanetary travel is like driving through the wilderness!!! saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:28AM PDT (-0800 GMT) what are your cats names? Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:28AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Saskia: All of your questions are coming twice. Only hit the "Chat" button when you are finished typing your message and wish to send it. Do not hit "refresh" or "reload" or the "return" button.

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:30AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you think there is life on Mars?

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:30AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long will it take to get to mars?

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:31AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles - how does using rockets slow down a spacecraft? Is it like when a plane lands and the pilot throws the engines into 'reverse'?

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:32AM PDT (-0800 GMT) what is the latest status on mgs

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:32AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Space Work: We've been working on Mars Surveyor for about 2 years, 1 year to design it, 1 year to build it. This is a VERY fast schedule for a spacecraft this complex (normally 4-5 years). We were able to go fast because of many of the lessons that we learned from the unsuccssful Mars Observer spacecraft (on which I also worked). Regarding the earlier question on the Challenger accident: It's okay to talk about those kinds of things (like Mars Observer), because it reminds us that Space Work is still very challenging, and unforgiving of mistakes. We must work hard to make that we have thought of everything that could go wrong before we go to work in space.

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:32AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long have you been working on this project

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:33AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Saskia: Use Scroll Back to find the answer to that message as Charles has answered that once or twice.

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:34AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Brian: Is there a heat shield or something to keep the MGS from burning up by the friction our atmosphere and gases arounmd Mars?

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:34AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how big is the pathfinder and the rover?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:35AM PDT (-0800 GMT) More about me: Favorite Foods - Pizza, of Course! (And I also like Indian Curries, and other international foods). Cats: Our first cat got named Sister, because she was a stray who was the sistser of another cat that we knew, and our second cat is Alexander. Sister is an orange short-hair calico and Alexander is a long-hair black & white (also a stray that we took in).

saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:36AM PDT (-0800 GMT) do you play any sports?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Brian: Good question on the Martian atmospher: We have to be very careful as we approach Mars since we are using the atmosphere to slow down. What we are going to do is to "ease in" little by little over a 3-4 month period (100-150 orbits) and watch the temperatures very carefully as we do.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Morningside is online...late, but online

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Saskia - I had the opportunity to see a model of the Rover in Washington at NASA HQ. It's no bigger than a typical remotely operated toy truck or car. But it's not a toy, it's very complex.

Michael: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Are there any plans in the future to colonize Mars?

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What elementary school did you go to? by Michael Morales, 5th grade

John Bayne: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:38AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi from Oz!(At 3AM) Charles - there must have been heaps of applicants for your job, what set you above the field?

Megan: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:38AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How hot will the spacecraft get as it enters Mars atmosphere?

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:39AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What elementary school did you go to? by Michael Morales, 5th grade

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:39AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hello Morningside Elementary! Welcome to the first "Mars Team Online" WebChat. We're glad you're participating!

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:39AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Morningside: Welcome! Mark: About the rockets - That's EXACTLY how we do it, just like an airplane putting it's engines in reverse!

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:40AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi Sandy . . . We're late . . . just like usual (hee hee)

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:41AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles - that explains it. So is it a calculated burn, as in so many seconds to achieve exactly the speeds you want?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:41AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael: When I was in elementary school, we moved around often because my father was a Methodist Minister and the church likes to rotate them through different parishes. When I was in High School, we lived in Morristown Tennessee, near Knoxville.

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:42AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What is your favorite planet?...Nicole Havens

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:43AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How did you get interested in your job? by Lee Alonzo, 5th grade

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:43AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Did you go into outer space? How many planets have you built instruments for?...Mindy Rosas

MARCIA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:43AM PDT (-0800 GMT) CHARLES, YOUR MOM AND DAD AND SISTER WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU, THE LAUNCH TEAM ,WILL BE DOING IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LAUNCH IN REGARD TO mgs..

M&M: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:44AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Michael and Michael have changed their names to M&M.

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:44AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Were you a traveler when you were a little boy?...Lacie Reynolds

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:45AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How old were you when you decided what you wanted to do for a living?...Pamela Smith

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:46AM PDT (-0800 GMT) MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, we have several students who are interested in being astronauts.We are now 7th graders, how could we prepare for the future?MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, we have several students who are interested in being astronauts.We are now 7th graders, how could we prepare for the future?

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:46AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Nathanial from the second grade: how do you build the satilites.

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:46AM PDT (-0800 GMT) John Baynes: OZ!!??! Are you really signing on from Australia? If so, I'm honored (or is it honoured?). On getting my job: In college, I went to M.I.T., which is one of the best (the best?) engineering schools here in the states. I studied both engineering and planetary astronomy (I had a summer job at an observatory). I think that the people who hired me appreciated the fact that I would be able to talk to both the engineers and scientists and understand them. Communication is a big part of my job, since complex systems require many different people and skills in order to be successful, and they all have to be working in the same direction.

M&M: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:46AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you think there is life on Mars?

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:49AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How long did it take to build the Mars Global Surveyor? by Juan Morales

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:50AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles - I'd like to add to Megan's question about heat as a factor in Mars atmosphere entry: are heat shield (or similar) materials the same as shields for earth re- entry, or do they need to be made specially for the requirements of Mars' atmosphere?

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:50AM PDT (-0800 GMT) If you were still young, what other career would you choose besides the one you have now? by Susan Rico (future Systems Engineer)

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:50AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Mrs. Hamilton Science Resource Teacher: On your live camera photos will you please write captions. Thank You!!!

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:50AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What would you tell people to get them interested in engineering? by Roxanna Muniz

MrsEfrosFourthGrade: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I like to thank you. My students enjoyed chatting with you. I will print the full transcript later so they can read all of your responses. Our library time is now up. Thanks again and bye for now...Mrs. Efros

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) About how big is the Mars Global Surveyor? Would it fit in our classroom? (We have a double-wide classroom) BTW, we found out that we could place a Delta II rocket in our school hallway if it was lying down.

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) On Becoming an Astronaut: I, too, would like to be an astronaut some day. My friend, who has just started Astronaut training, has a similar education background as myself (Engineering and Science degrees, Bachellors & Masters). Many astronauts also have PhD's or are medical doctors. My friend has been an Air Force test pilot/test engineer, but will be a research engineer on the Space Shuttle, not a pilot. I've wanted to be involved in space sinceI was in elementary school (I just barely remember the Apollo and Skylab programs).

Florian: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Is the HGA used on the MGS the same model as for the MO just with a shorter boom ?

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:52AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Everyone: The WebChats are 1 hr in length. However, Charles has agreed to spend an extra 15 minutes chatting to us today. The WebChat will officially end in 20 minutes: 10:15 PST, 1:15 EST

MARCIA IN MORRISTOWN: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:52AM PDT (-0800 GMT) WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING THE LIVE PICTURE ON THE INTERNET OF MGS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THE OUTSIDE SEEMS TO BE A SHINNY SILVER-LIKE SUBSTANCE THAT LOOK LIKE ALUMINUM FOIL? WHAT IS THAT?

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:53AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From John Second grade:How many satellites have you worked on

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:53AM PDT (-0800 GMT) M&M: Life on Mars - If there is currently life, it must be small, like algae or bacteria, but we think that there used to be rivers & oceans there.

M&M: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:53AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What interested you in becoming an engineer.

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:53AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Mrs Efros Fourth Grade Class: Thank you very much for joining us. There will be a second WebChat next week. Send me email at sandy@quest.arc.nasa.gov for the date and time.

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:54AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Morningside: Mars Global Surveyor is about the size of a Jeep. It has to fit inside the nosecone of the Delta Rocket!

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:54AM PDT (-0800 GMT) From Christopher First Grade: Why did the Mars Observer fail

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:54AM PDT (-0800 GMT) John@Hunters: This is the third spacecraft that I have worked on.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:55AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How long and how wide is the Sojourner rover? by Luis Macias

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:56AM PDT (-0800 GMT) If someone asked you if you wanted to be an astronaut, what would you say? by Perla Vasquez

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:58AM PDT (-0800 GMT) On Engineering and Other Careers: I think that I got into engineering because I like building and creating things. Also, having a good mathematical background and good problem-solving skills is important. I've thought about writing software, or helping people solve "operational" problems in business (scheduling, shipping, storing things), as other things besides engineering that I might have liked to do.

Morningside Elementary: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thank you for answering our questions. We will be back next week, and we will endeavor to be on time. Thanks again!!

Hunters Woods: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) This is Jesse, Parker, Brian, Bill, and Miss H. (who has been here on and off while instructing first and second graders) thanking you for chatting with us today. You have made the MGS seem "Up Close and Personal) for us! We hope to get on other chats. Please send us all information!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) MARCIA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:43AM PDT (-0800 GMT) CHARLES, YOUR MOM AND DAD AND SISTER WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU, THE LAUNCH TEAM ,WILL BE DOING IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LAUNCH IN REGARD TO mgs..

BEN IN MORRISTOWN: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:01AM PDT (-0800 GMT) HELLO, MY NAME IS BEN, I'M ONE OF MARCIA'S STUDENTS AND MARCIA WANTS TO SAY THAT WE MIGHT CANCEL NEXT PERIOD TO TALK WITH YOU IF YOU STAY ON THE CHAT LINE. MY QUESTION IS- HOW LONG WILL YOU BE RECEIVING DATA FROM MGS?

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:02AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Good bye for now Morningside and Hunters Woods! I will put out further WebChat info. this week. Send me email at: sandy@quest.arc.nasa.gov

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi Ben: Charles has graciously accepted to stay on the webchat line an extra 15 mins. He will have to sign off at 1:15 EST as he needs to get back to working on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. There will be another WebChat next week.

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Mars Observer: Florian - The High Gain Antenna (HGA) used on MGS is the spare antenna that was built Mars Observer, mounted on a shorter "boom" or stick. Cristopher@Hunters - We have studied the Mars Observer design a lot since we lost it, and only have theories: To make a rocket work in space, you not only have to bring fuel to burn, you also have to bring liquid air for it to burn. The two chemicals are kept in separate tanks until they need to burn in the engine, but we think that the plumbing on Mars Observer might have allowed the two to mix upstream of the tanks and cause the tanks or plumbing to rupture. We think that we've fixed all of the problems for MGS!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:05AM PDT (-0800 GMT) cds students: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:18AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Dear Charles, How long did it take you to design this probe? Dear Charles, whose idea was it to built the mars probe? If if was how long did it take for the idea to be formulated? If not whose idea was it?

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) saskia : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 9:25AM PDT (-0800 GMT) how long will the mars global surveyor and pathfinder stay there?forever?

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:07AM PDT (-0800 GMT) MORRISTOWN: (Take the Caps Lock off, It looks like you're yelling!!grin) The shiny material shown in the camera pictures of our spacecraft was a protective tent around the spacecraft until yesterday, when the Delta Rocket installed the nosecone around the spacecraft. Once we get to Mars (after 11 months to get there and 4 months to finallize the orbit) we will return pictures for 2 years.

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:07AM PDT (-0800 GMT) We're going to have to end this WebChat in 5 minutes.

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:08AM PDT (-0800 GMT) OK, Sandy, goodbye to all!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thanks to everyone for participating in this first Mars Team Online WebChat. Your questions were excellent! If you'd like to see a picture of Charles and find out more information about him go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/team/whetsel.html

Florian: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Goodbye and thanks Mark

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Join us next week for a second Mars Team Online WebChat. Information about the day and time will follow here in a day or so. You can also email me at sandy@quest.arc.nasa.gov for the details.

marcia in morristown: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Good bye from Morristown!!!!!!!!!! We aren't yelling now!!!!!!! See you next week , Charles!

Charles@NASA: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:10AM PDT (-0800 GMT) How long spacecraft stay at Mars: To date, everything that has been sent to Mars has stayed there (Including Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder). Since Mars is only a little bit smaller than Earth, it is almost as difficult to leave Mars as it is to leave Earth. If you think about how big a rocket it takes to blastoff from Earth, it would take one almost that big to leave Mars, and another one 10 times bigger to send that rocket from Earth to Mars in the first place. These are the kind of challenges we will have to overcome if we want to send people to Mars and give them some way to return home.

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:11AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Got it Megan - thought that was you. My thanks to everyone who participated in producing this webchat - I think it is very valuable. Many thanks to you Charles, for your time and effort.

Mark Stokes: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:11AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Bye, Florian!

Megan: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:11AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thanks Charles! Goodbye!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:12AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Goodbye Marcia! Next week's WebChat will feature another Mars team member. Send me email at sandy@quest.arc.nasa.gov for further details.

John Bayne: . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:13AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thanks Charles, your chat was really inspirational. If there's anybody out there interested in a 15y.o. Space-fanatical penpal, please write to jkb@internetnorth.com.au

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:13AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Charles: Thank you very, very much for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to talk to us today :-) Good Luck with MGS. We'll all be thinking of you on November 6!!!

Sandy/NASA/Chat Host : . . . . Wed, Oct 30, 10:14AM PDT (-0800 GMT) This first "Mars Team Online" WebChat is officially over. Thanks everyone!


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