Date: May 6, 1998
Featuring: Rich Hogen
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 12 - 11:59:38
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Hi Rich. Thanks for joining us
My pleasure. Do we have participants yet?
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 15 - 12:00:53
RE: [Rich/LMA/Denver] My pleasure. Do we have participants
No, but hopefully we will soon. Sometimes classes run a bit late.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 20 - 12:03:39
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, while we're waiting for our
other participants, here is an e-mail question we received for you:
HI, My name is Kaitlin Erickson and I am writing to you from Aurora
Colorado. I go to Laredo Middle School. I was wondering if you could
give me an estimate of time, How long before we will be sending astronauts
The factors controlling when "we" will be sending people to Mars are
many and variable. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time (usually
longer than the 4-year government administration that approves spending),
and it has to be well justified. There's no way to tell right now when
it'll happen, but the more people show interest in exploration, the
earlier it'll happen.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 21 - 12:04:25
Hello and welcome to today's Mars Team Online chat with Rich Hogen!
Rich is an aerospace engineer, and is one of several people on the MGS
Spacecraft Operations Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver,
Colorado. One of his responsibilities involves whole-spacecraft and
mission operational analysis ("Systems Engineering", or SYS) and another
involves Real-Time Operations (RTO). RTO is all about working with NASA
JPL's Deep Space Network (DSN) to properly send commands to the spacecraft
and make sure good data is received from the spacecraft.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 16 - 12:01:25
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] Hello Oran and
Welcome, Kye! Richard Hogen is here to answer your questions.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 19 - 12:03:36
RE: [WillERAU-WillERAU] Hi, this is Will
from New York
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 22 - 12:05:14
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] Rich - I was reading
about the Mars Relay instrument on the MGS that is going to be used
to pass data from the MSP98 Lander back to Earth. (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/sci/mr/mr.html)
Is it going to be effected by MGS's antenna problems? Also, will it
be communicating with the Deep Space Network directly or will data be
passed to NASA from the Stanford Dish?
What MGS antenna problems? As for DSN vs. Stanford, I have believe it'll
be DSN but I'd have to verify that. The problem is that the "mission
plan" is no longer valid, so this might be up for negotiation next year.
[ Kye/TheEventInventor - 24 - 12:08:17 ]
OPPS! I think I got the MGS confused with the Pathfinder mission!
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 25 - 12:08:58
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, here is another e-mail question
for you: hi rich just thought i would drop you a e-mail how is it up
high can you see mount gambier sa as you go over i know you talk too
some amuter radio guys here in mt gambier . do you get bored at all
or are you busy all the time ??well cheers for now .enid
Enid, I don't do amateur radio, so I know nothing about this! Sorry.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 29 - 12:13:40
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] As the solar activity
cycle increases over the next 4 or 5 years, do you expect to have more
times when the Sun (being very close to Mars in our sky) will make data
reception even more difficult than it has been for this solar conjunction
cycle? Also - do you expect data being gathered now about Mars' magnetic
fields to help you know when you can get better reception of the data
Yes, but I'm don't know about the telecommunication system design for
'98 and '01. They might be more tolerant of the expected scintillation
and other effects, but not of the photosphere literally expanding. As
for the magnetic field of Mars, it is not a factor in telecomm. Earth's
mag field is a factor because it's strong enough to capture solar wind
particles, resulting in a host of secondary effects that can interfere.
Not so at Mars.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 33 - 12:16:30
RE: [WillERAU-WillERAU] Has the image mapping
of the surface of Mars revealed any promising sites for the next rover
landing, near the poles or such?
Yes, good question. This is part of the integrated exploration strategy
of the Mars missions. Since mission planning for Mars Polar Lander ('98
lander) had to start some time ago they already had a region selected.
But the new MGS images have refined site estimates, surface roughness
calculations, MPL camera usage strategy, etc.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 34 - 12:16:47
RE: [WillERAU-WillERAU] I am very sorry,
but I have to go. Oran, is it possible if I can get a written transcript
of this chat log?
Yes, an archive of this chat will be available online within the next
day or so. Check the Mars archives at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/webchats/experts.html
in the next couple of days. Thanks for joining us today.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 35 - 12:19:23
RE: [WillERAU-WillERAU] I have a career question,
if you can help. Next year I will enroll in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University majoring in Engineering Physics. From what I have gathered,
a background in the Air Force is nearly a must if you want to get anywhere
in the NASA space program. Is this true? Will I be so disadvantaged
if I didn't? Thanks
Will, regarding Embry-Riddle and all that, NASA does many things, and
not everyone involved in space is an astronaut. I suppose your question
is about becoming an astronaut. If so, then here's the deal. You really
only have to go the military route if you want to be a shuttle pilot.
Mission Specialists come from all walks of life, mostly science and
engineering, of course. If you can imagine becoming a Mission Specialist
then they key is to find planetside activities that interest you and
do them well. The astronaut program wants people who are competent at
Earth-based activities primarily, not just space-heads. :)
[ WillERAU-WillERAU - 36 - 12:19:30 ]
Thank you both Oran and Rich. I hope I am able to speak with you soon,
I have MANY questions! If anything, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all, and good night.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 37 - 12:21:00
Will, you can find my email address at my web page. (explore it)
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 39 - 12:22:07
RE: [WillERAU-WillERAU] Thank you both Oran
and Rich. I hope I am able to speak with you soon, I have MANY questions!
If anything, my e-mail address is email@example.com. Thank you all, and
good night. :-)
Thanks again for joining us today, Rich. We hope you will be able to
join us on May 19 and 20 for our Space Day chats. Check the Countdown
to Space Day page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/spaceday for more information.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 43 - 12:26:17
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] I would like to
know more about the yo-yo "despin device" that will be used with the
MSP98 vehicles after the third stage burn of the Delta rocket is completed.
I presume the purpose of this devise is to stop the spinning motion
that is inherent in bodies in motion, but it's interesting to imagine
how such a gizmo would work! Maybe kinda like the gyroscopes used for
auto-pilots on airplanes ?!?
You know more about MSP98 third-stage activities than I do, Kye (no
surprise -- you're a dynamo!). But you're right. Spin control is primarily
done with reaction wheels, but sometimes with other approaches. Lunar
Prospector just extended its arms to slow its spin rate. Simple and
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 45 - 12:30:51
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, we routinely receive questions
from students about manned mission to Mars. At this time, what are the
plans for this?
It costs a lot of money to analyze and update manned/humanned/crewed
mission plans, so recently there was an order at NASA to cease all manned
mission analyses except those involving International Space Station.
Shortly afterward that order was softened. Basically, there are no plans.
What we need now, and Dan Goldin is doing this, is more information
about planets outside our solar system and about water inside our solar
system so we can refine our realistic estimates of the likelihood of
recognizable life "out there". We also need to decide as a species that
exploration is important for our survival and that of the Earth, and
we need to specifically decide precisely WHY we need to send humans
elsewhere. It won't happen until SOME agreement is reached, consciously
or subconsciously, about these questions.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 47 - 12:34:21
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, how will the information
we have received about Mars so far influence the types of missions planned
for the future?
I hate to say it, but the details are unknown to me. To answer this
question fully I'd have to be well familiar with all the missions, and
I'm not. Recently I've spent some weeks working on the Entry, Descent
and Landing (EDL) sequence of events for Mars Polar Lander. I know that
the camera strategy has been refined because of MGS images, and I believe
the Attitude Control and Navigation approaches and software have been
updated to take into account topographical data from MOLA. Extend these
kinds of influences to the other missions. It takes so long to develop
science instruments that I really doubt the instruments themselves will
be redesigned based on incoming data, but their usage and targets will
probably be refined.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 51 - 12:38:57
RE: [Patti/CJHS] What are some of the lessons
learned from the Mars rover and pathfinder mission that will help in
future missions to Mars?
That's a fantastic question and it goes to the heart of efficiency in
aerospace engineering. Spacecraft are incredibly complex, and space
exploration missions are replete with details and data. To capture lessons
learned is very difficult. We could spend years just meeting and talking
and learning from each other, but there just isn't time for that. Over
time, new ways to capture rationale and lessons learned will creep into
teleconferencing tools and through other means, but right now it's mostly
captured in the memories of high-level program managers who discuss
such issues with each other. At reviews and strategy meetings those
memories get communicated to the other participants. The other issue
is that many times a lesson learned is specific to one spacecraft design
and mission and isn't applicable to others. As for specifics from MPF,
the only one I really know of is the difficulty in performing teleoperations
with such a long round-trip light-time delay.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 52 - 12:42:05
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] Rich - My son
Carl wants to know - If the nearest star with planets is 50 or 60 light
years away how long do you think it will take to develope a spacecraft
that can get there in a reasonable amount of time.
Fifty or 60 light years may as well be the other side of the universe
given our current technology and understanding of physical laws. Because
it is literally over the horizon of imaginable activity, we have to
answer such a question with intermediate questions like: how long until
we figure out how to safely use cryogenic stasis on people? How long
until we have fusion power and the associated propulsion benefits? How
long until we have functional nanotechnology to keep computers and mechanisms
working for long periods of time? Etc. In part, the answers depend on
Carl and his peers and what they do with their lives to contribute to
collective human understanding and technological know-how while keeping
the planet alive.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 53 - 12:43:26
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, how much "say so" do you
have regarding the design of Mars crafts?
I'm currently NOT working in a design capacity on any Mars missions,
so the answer is NONE, for now.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 55 - 12:45:03
RE: [Patti/CJHS] How far out into space does
the Deep Space Network reach?
That depends on the strength of the signal being detected. If the signal
is strong, the DSN can "reach" far out. Right now the DSN is tracking
the incredibly weak signal of Voyager spacecraft out at the edge of
the solar system. The DSN has been used to study astronomical objects
into the distant reaches of space.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 56 - 12:48:52
Looking ahead to when there will be a large number of people living
on Mars, I was wondering what kind of entertainment was being looked
at for the people there. In particular I'm interested in sports. Has
any consideration been given to what kinds of sports could be played
on Mars, and the effect on the Martian conditions such as less gravity
would have on sports.
NASA barely has technical plans to establish a "permanent" base on Mars,
let alone funding plans. Your question falls into the category of "human
factors", which is an area that has been studied more and more. There's
no question that people need recreational time, but I suspect that you
can't plan on such things. People will invent their own recreational
activities no matter where they live.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 62 - 12:57:17
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] Rich - When should
we expect to start seeing results of the science data being gathered
on MGS now through the summer?
We here at MGS ops ask that question often! The science data is in the
hands of the scientists. It is a "product" that we deliver to them using
our spacecraft and our operations organization. After that, we wait
for results just like everybody else. I suggest sending such questions
directly to the investigators. Check the Malin Space Science Systems
page for MOC and see if the other instruments have pages with contact
info on other NASA web sites.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 63 - 13:00:17
Has there been any thought of sending a handicapped person into space
or the potential benefits of mobility that reduced gravity would have
for people with mobility problems?
I don't know, but I wrote a story a few years ago in which mobility-handicapped
people were on equal mobility footing (pun intended) with "normals"
and in fact they took rather well to microgravity. The NASA and Russian
manned space programs are government agencies and they probably will
never actively seek to place other-abled people into space for fear
of public backlash. (Oran, I'll try to get to your question at the end)
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 67 - 13:06:34
Is your story of mobility-handicapped people published anywhere that
I could read it?
Oh, no, it's just something I was working on. In fact, that part was
in the background to the story itself, not expounded upon within the
story. Go to my web site, find my email address (click on the title)
and we'll talk about this offline.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 75 - 13:17:56
RE: [Kye/TheEventInventor] Rich - Sure!!
I wonder if you are familiar with the MSP98 Lander's power supply. The
Pathfinder couldn't recharge batteries after a few Maritan dust storms
got its solar panels all dusty. We were wondering if (since there is
an arm and hand type mechanism) they couldn't sorta send a "wet wipe"
along in the Lander's pocket to wipe off the dust (Actually this was
An interesting question. The battery issue had more to do with temperature
than the dust on the solar panels, as I understand it. MPF was getting
colder and colder as the mission progressed, I think because the nights
at that location were getting longer. Batteries store energy chemically,
and as you know chemical reactions happen faster in the presence of
heat and slower in the absence of heat. At a certain point the batteries
got cold enough that they couldn't retain enough charge overnight and
were so depleted by morning that they couldn't start up the lander's
computer. The charge rate is determined by the power system, including
the panels and the batteries themselves, which can't be charged too
quickly or they'll be damaged. As for wet wipes, think about this: in
a situation where there is the possibility of computer error, do you
want your scoop arm to be able to articulate into the solar panels?
Nope. The dust issue is a toughy.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 77 - 13:21:06
RE: [Dara-Melissa/DracutHighSchool] hi every1,
i want 2 find out does medicines for humans work in space the same way
as on Earth? and precautions do they have to take notice?
That's good question. I have little exposure to humanned space activities,
so I don't know the answer. From what I've heard, it's probably safe
to assume that EVERYTHING related to biology is different in space.
We evolved in the presence of gravity and our fluid transport system
is completely thrown off in microgravity (that's why astronauts' faces
look bloated -- gravity is not there to pull blood down into the legs).
The fluid distribution systems (blood circulation and hormone and other
chemical distribution) no longer function as they have evolved to.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 79 - 13:28:22
Say, officially speaking, I may have told Kye and Carl the wrong thing
about batteries and energy stored. But in any case I think the problem
was temperature related overnight and not to the solar panel dust issue.
(I'm no Power guy)
[ Kye/TheEventInventor - 80 - 13:29:59 ]
Rich - No problem! Sounds like something for Carl to research. Thanks
again to both you and Oran. Clear Skies and bye for now!
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 66 - 13:05:09
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Rich, in closing, what direction
would you like to see space exploration take in the future?
I would love to see a successful sample return mission from Mars, adding
up to enough data that would compel us (as a species) to want to explore
Mars and settle the question of past life on Mars once and for all.
I'd love to see more commerical missions whose purpose is entertainment,
movie-making, and other indirect public participation in space exploration.
(keep your eyes on LunaCorp's plans, and watch to see if Japan's EarthRise
mission comes to pass, among others in the works) Aside from that I
naturally want the current trend of cheaper, faster exploration missions
to continue, because they are so much fun and are so exciting from both
this "insider" point of view and also from a general audience point
of view. Oh, also, I look forward to missions to explore the water at
the Moon's south pole and to experiment with making good use of it.
That'd be really cool, too.
[ Kye/TheEventInventor - 64 - 13:02:39 ]
Rich - Thanks so much for your time! This was a VERY interesting chat.
Thanks also for the inspiring answer to Carl.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 71 - 13:10:36
Thank you to those of you who were able to join us for today's Mars
Team Online chat with Rich Hogen.
[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 72 - 13:10:59
A special thanks to Rich Hogen for chatting with us today.
[ Rich/LMA/Denver - 82 - 13:30:56
Thanks, all. See you next time.