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Mars Team Online WebChat

Date: March 4, 1997

Featuring: Peter Thomas
Research Scientist
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:00AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [8 ] Hi Vince, The speaker this morning is Peter Thomas from Cornell University. He is a Mars research scientist. You can find out more about him by going to button and click on "The Team" icon. Here you will find his bio.

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:01AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [9 ] Great! Thanks Sandy!

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:01AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [10 ] Today's chat will begin in about 8 minutes...

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:03AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [11 ] Sandy: I'm back

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:05AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [12 ] Ok Peter. We'll begin in 5 minutes...

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:08AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [13 ] Hello Everyone! Welcome to yet another "Mars Team Online" WebChat! Today's Mars expert is Peter Thomas from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:09AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [14 ] Peter studies pictures of other planets and satellites sent back by spacecraft. He is really interested in how the wind shapes the surface of Mars by moving sand and dust, sometimes in global storms, and how the polar caps have affected Mars' geology and climate.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:09AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [15 ] Peter is a member of the science teams that plan, and will analyze images sent back by the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor, as well as the Orbiter and Lander cameras on the '98 Mars Surveyor Orbiter and Lander. He also works on other planetary missions such as the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Cassini mission to be launched to Saturn.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:09AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [16 ] Welcome Peter!

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:11AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [17 ] Hello everyone from almost frozen Ithaca!

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:12AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [18 ] Who would like to ask Peter the first question?!

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:12AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [19 ] Hi Peter! Are wind velocities on Mars slower than earth, if so, are the shapes from wind erosion different than earth?

Shannon/5th grade: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:13AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [20 ] Hi Peter, Why do you work at a university? I thought university was part of going to school. What do you do?

Wesley: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:14AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [21 ] Hello

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:15AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [22 ] Hi Wesley! Thanks for joining us! Do you have a few questions for Peter today?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:16AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [23 ] Vince: Winds on Mars actually get higher than those on earth, but because the atmosphere is only 1% as thick as on Earth, it results in similaar effects: sand dunes, erosion and dust storms

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:19AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [24 ] shannon: Because I do reasearch, a university is one of the best places..people are here to learn, studying photos sent back from other planets is part of learning all about our world, and here is a good place for that.

Wesley: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:19AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [25 ] Peter: How many satilites have you worked with? Why did you choose to be a scientist?

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:19AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [26 ] Peter - what will be the 'smallest' resolution from MGS cameras? Will you be able to get dune fields from the photos?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:21AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [27 ] continuing with shannon's question: we have lots of computers here, they are used in the image processing, and of course help to show students what we find, and more impoirtantly, how we use cameras and computers to explore. University education is hard to sepoarate from the kind of science work we don.

Wesley: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:21AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [28 ] Peter: Could Mars ever have or still have life on it? What is your opinion?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:22AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [29 ] Wesley: I've lost count! the ones of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune..lots of different shapes and sizes..variety is what keeps it interesting!

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:23AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [30 ] Why did I become a scientist? It just is a great deal of fun; it is lots of hard work, which is probably the main requirement for doing science, but is tremendous fun when you find new things!

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:23AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [31 ] What would happen to Mars if the Polar Ice Caps melted, Peter?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:24AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [32 ] The best resolutiuon from MGS will be 1.5 meters..4 feet. We will be able to see details of individual dunes, and may see them change during the mission

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:25AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [33 ] Is the Polar Ice Caps melt can Mars produce life?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:26AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [34 ] Wesley: There certainly could have been..but I, and most planetary scientists have not been convinced it was there..we need to really dif around on Mars to find out.

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:26AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [35 ] Will you be able to feed image data into 3d simulator and watch dunes shift?

Shannon: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:27AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [36 ] When you say you need to "dig around" on Mars, do you mean like an archeologist? Whould you look for animal bones?

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:28AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [37 ] What special features do the two moons that Mars has have?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:29AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [38 ] Continuing with Wesley's query on melting effects, the water might help make conditions forlife forming, or revitalizing dormant life, but if it all dried up or drained down into the rocks, that might not last too long!

Shannon/5th grade: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:31AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [39 ] Once you get the photographs back from the planets, and you look at them, what do you look for exactly"? And do the pictures look like what I take with my pocket camera?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:31AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [40 ] Vince: I'm sure we will put the different dune images, and the topography got from the images and from the laser altimeter into visualization, and use that to show what's going on. The first method is just putting images turned into maps on top of one another to map how far dunes have moved if at all.

Megan/SF: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:33AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [41 ] If water on Mars has drained down into the rocks as you say, how far down do you think it pooled and can it be reached by drilling?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:33AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [42 ] Wesley: The two moons are very dark, they are covered in deep layers of material thrown out of craters, and Phobos has grooves, large cracks, running over most of it surface..no other satellite looks like that (some have small grooves). Phobos's orbit is shrinking..and in about 100 million years it should hit Mars!

: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:34AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [43 ] hello

: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:36AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [44 ] is anyone there?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:36AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [45 ] Shannon: By digging around I mean actually getting below the surface, or examining sides of cliffs where things are eroded, so we can see what was around a long time ago. From orbit one can guess good sites to dig, but the distance (250 miles) and the covers of dust and sand blown around by the wind, means to find fossils..small, or even big ones, you have to get rid of "dirt"..like on the earth!

: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:36AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [46 ] i guess not

Megan/SF: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:37AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [47 ] TO WHOEVER WROTE "HELLO"... WE CAN SEE YOU BUT PLEASE TYPE YOUR NAME IN WHERE IT SAYS "YOUR HANDLE" SO WE CAN SEE WHO YOU ARE! THANKS :-)

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:37AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [48 ] How long will it take to image the mars, will you be able to find pathfinder with 4ft resolution?

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:38AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [49 ] Could plants and animals survive on Mars ever?

: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:39AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [50 ] Hello peter, I am an Aerospace Education Specialist with NASA's Aerospace Educational Services Program and work out of LeRC. I am promoting the web chats to educators in my Teacher Workshops and was interested to see what the response has been.

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:39AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [51 ] Shannon: what we look for depends..if we get pictures of some satellite we have never seen before, we want to measure its size and shape, see if there are craters (craters are on nearly all satellites) how many craters (more craters means its older), and any other features that suggest what has happened to, or Some of the pictures are better than with pocket cameras..some worse..! formed the object

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:40AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [52 ] Welcome Lewis Research Center! We are happy to have you join us today!

: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:41AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [53 ] Hi...sorry it took me so long to get here! Server problems:/

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:41AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [54 ] Megan: Good question..a lot of people try to figure that out.. it depends on how much space there is in the rocks, and how much heat is coming from inside the planet..that is, will it freeze instead of flow? It might go a couple of miles down. Drilling there is difficult (!!), but hopefully one could find some closer to the surface.

Megan : . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:41AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [55 ] That was me:)

Megan Gilliland: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:41AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [56 ] ok..this is Megan Gilliland

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:43AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [57 ] Hey Megan G., I was wondering where you were! Glad you are here :-)

Megan Gilliland: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:43AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [58 ] Thanks Sandy...glad I finally got here too:)

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:43AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [59 ] Vince: The MGS will hopefully work for a full Mars year ..nearly 2 Earth years. We will try to see Pathfinder, and imaging the area around it will help the Pa It is not guaranteed we will see Pthfinder, or the parachutes, etc, dropped off.thfinder scientists put their images and data in context.

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:45AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [60 ] Wesley: plants and animals could conceivably survive at depth on Mars now, where it is warmer than the surface. In the past, it might have been warmer at the surface

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:45AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [61 ] Peter: If plants and animals survive, what kind would?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:45AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [62 ] A question from me: who has seen Mars through a telescope?

Shannon: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:45AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [63 ] What sort of plants and animals do you think could live on Mars?

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:47AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [64 ] Are you employing any lessons learned from magellan/venus in your imaging stragities.(although magellan imageing was with SAR rather than cameras)

Wesley/Maywood Center: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:48AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [65 ] Does Mars have different types of storms besides sand storms?

Shannon: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:48AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [66 ] I saw Mars in my backyard with my dad. He brought his telescope outside one night in the summer and he showed me where to look. I remember it was red! But I don;t remember why it was red. Do you know?

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:48AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [67 ] What kinds might survive..difficult to say.. probably small ones that can hide in rock fractures..there are lots of these on earth.. in recent years oil and other drilling has brought up "bugs" from miles depths,,some say if these are all over the earth, mosty of the mass of the earth's biology is in rocks! But it would all be small stuff..probably needing a microcope to see (another reason to dig).

Megan Gilliland: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:49AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [68 ] I've seen Mars through a telescope, and I just got a new larger one that I'm hoping to use this summer:)

DianeS-Maywood: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:49AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [69 ] Good morning - Wesley was dropped by the server. She will be right back.

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:50AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [70 ] Vince: Magellan found interesting types of "collapsed volcanoes" that have application to other areas..for a while in December the Galileo imaging team though similar things were showing up in images of Europa..but we have a different view now!

Shannon: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:50AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [71 ] Hi DianeS, no problem, we'll here for another 10 minutes (10 a.m. PDT)

Megan Gilliland: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:50AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [72 ] sorry I have to leave so soon without asking any questions, but I wasn't planning on getting here so late:) Hope to "see" you all next week!

Shannon: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:51AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [73 ] Bye Megan! Missed your great questions but look forward to hearing from you next week!

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:51AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [74 ] Wesley: Mars has big and small dust storms (fine stuff carried high up), and real sand storms (sand blowing near the surface) It has strong winds that vary during the day that can also carry the carbon dioxide frost.."snowstorms"!

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:52AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [75 ] I second that! See you Megan :-)

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:53AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [76 ] EVERYONE: PETER HAS TO GO BACK TO WORK IN 5 MINUTES... THERE IS TIME FOR A COUPLE MORE QUESTIONS...

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:53AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [77 ] Mars is red mostly because of minerals like rust..iron is oxidized in the soil..looks a lot like red soils in Georgia..or Hawaii, and many other places..it diesn't need a lot of water to turn iron into rust!

Wesley/6 grade: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:54AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [78 ] Our Mars Team Online class is starting in a couple of weeks

jbfitz: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:54AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [79 ] Hello, I am just learning to use the web chat and did not see my handle with my message. Hopefully it will now appear.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:55AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [80 ] WESLEY: BE SURE TO VISIT THE Mars Team Online WEB SITE often as there are all sorts of Mars activities and info.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:56AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [81 ] jbfitz: We see you loud and clear. Do you have a question for Peter? He has to leave in one minute!

Wesley/6 grade: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:56AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [82 ] My mom has a teacher's manual. Visit our page button See you later

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:57AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [83 ] Well folks, I have to go off to work (getting a talk ready).. its been great fun, and keep working on Mars (and other planets!)

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:58AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [84 ] Wesley: Thanks for the info. I will indeed go to your page. I'm glad to see your mom has a teacher's manual. I hope you enjoy the project!

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:58AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [85 ] Good bye Peter! Thank you very much for talking to us today! Good luck with your projects and we hope to hear from you again soon!

jbfitz: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 9:59AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [86 ] When will we see the first information from the Mars Pathfinder. We are working on planning workshops and were not sure when information will be made available after the landing.

jbfitz: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:02AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [87 ] Hi Sandy, Is this chat site tied in with the Web Chat that is at the bottom of the page? "Powered by WebChat". Do teacher have to register with WebChat before they can participate. That is what I need to know.

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:02AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [88 ] The first images will be sometime on the 4th or 5th of July after landing and then for a couple months. The first shots will be a panorama of what lies in front of the spacecraft.

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:02AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [89 ] thank Peter and Sandy

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:04AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [90 ] Hi jbfitz! This is a "Mars Team Online" web chat. These are conducted every week on either Tues, Wed, or Thurs mornings. To reserve a spot (just so we don't get too crowded), go to the Live From Mars web site at button and click on "Featured Events" Go to the section on WebChats and follow the directions. Also, be sure and check out "The Team" icon for bios and journals.

peter/cornell: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:05AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [91 ] Vince: You're welcome! I hope you can join us again next Tuesday at 9 a.m. PDT.

Sandy/NASA Chat Host: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:06AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [92 ] Next week's chat expert will be Bridget Landry from the JEt Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA. Check out her very interesting bio at button

vince/boeing: . . . . Tue, Mar 4, 10:08AM PDT (-0700 GMT). . . [93 ] Yes! I wouldn't miss this! Thanks again!


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