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Mars Team Online QuestChat

Date: September 16, 1998

Featuring: Ted Roush
Planetary Scientist
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA


Main Room


last read Wed Sep 16 10:09:11 1998

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 08:31:14 ]
Hello to our early arriving Mars Team Online participants! Mars Team Online chat with Ted Roush from NASA Ames Research Center will begin at 9:00 a.m. today. Be sure you have read Ted's autobiography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/roush.html before joining this chat. Once the chat begins, Ted will attempt to answer as many of your questions as he can, but please be patient. We are scheduled to have many participants online for today's chat, so 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 - 8 - 08:32:06 ]
Today's chat will be "moderated" in order to help Ted keep up with your questions. This means that only a few questions will be posted at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately. They will be posted as Ted answers others already posted in the chat room. As a reminder, 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 - 9 - 08:32:15 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, you will have an opportunity to give us feedback about it. We encourage you to take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us by responding to our QuestChat Feedback survey at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. Your responses, comments and suggestions will help us with future chats. We hope to hear from you!

[ TedRoush/ARC - 10 - 09:00:47 ]
Good morning Everyone! I'm Ted Roush a space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. I study what materials the surfaces of other planets and satellites in our solar system are made of. I hope I can answer any questions you might have today.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 12 - 09:02:43 ]
Welcome to today's Mars Team Online chat with Ted Roush from NASA Ames Research Center! Ted explains: "I am a planetary scientist who studies the composition of solid surfaces throughout the solar system. This means that I am interested in the minerals and rock types found on the surfaces of rocky bodies and the various ices found on the surfaces of icy bodies. Knowing what these materials are is important for understanding how the interiors and surfaces of the bodies originally formed and how they evolved over time. My work includes telescopic and spacecraft observations, laboratory work and computer calculations."

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 14 - 09:02:58 ]
And now, here is Ted Roush to answer your questions.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 23 - 09:06:45 ]
RE: [Joshua/NBC-Mrs.Hodges/NBC] I am planning on being a future astronaut. What are your suggestions?
Joshua, It takes a lot of effort and dedication to become an astronaut. You must have skills that are valuable in space such as a strong background in biology, astronomy, or geology. I recommend you identify a skill that is useful in space that you enjoy and become an expert. Some experience in flying airplanes is also an advantage.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 24 - 09:07:18 ]
RE: [Devon/NBC-Mrs.Hodges/NBC] Have you ever been in space before?
Devon, I have never been in space.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 25 - 09:08:35 ]
RE: [Raya-Mr.Crittenden/KayentaMiddleSchool] 1.Is there a plan to probe Mercury?
Raya, Currently there are no missions scheduled to Mercury. There have been and continue to be several missions to Mercury proposed.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 26 - 09:10:30 ]
RE: [Kasey-Mr.Crittenden/KayentaMiddleSchool] Is there life on Europa?
Kasey, Right now we don't know if there is any life on Europa. There is a continuing mission mapping the surface of Europa now. There are future missions intended to search for a sub-surface ocean that MAY exist on Europa. IF such an ocean exists, then it might harbor life.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 27 - 09:12:20 ]
RE: [Duncan/NBC-Mrs.Hodges/NBC] How much does the space suit weigh?
Duncan, Sorry I don't know the weight of a space suit. However, in addition to the protective suit, astronauts need to carry their own air supply, much like skin divers on Earth. New materials are making the suits lighter and more manuverable.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 29 - 09:14:20 ]
RE: [Julie/NBC-Mrs.Hodges/NBC] How did you decide to be a planetary scientist?
Julie, I became a Planetary Scientist after working with a professor in college. He encouraged me to think about what materials on other surfaces were made of and provided me with some initial research experience. After that I went on to graduate school, undertook more research, and eventually became a planetary scientist.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 30 - 09:14:45 ]
Many of your questions can be answered by reading Ted Roush's autbiography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/roush.html. Please read his autobiography if you have not already done so, before posting new questions to the chat room. Thank you for your cooperation.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 34 - 09:16:36 ]
RE: [Raya-Mr.Crittenden/KayentaMiddleSchool] 2.How long would it take to get to Mercury from Earth?
Raya, It really depends upon the speed at which one travels. For example, light from the sun takes only about 8 minutes to reach the Earth. However, spacecraft carrying astronauts travel much slower than light. If a spacecraft were on a direct course to Mercury, it would probably take a few months to reach the planet.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 35 - 09:19:04 ]
RE: [steve] When did we first go to Mars to get information?
Steve, Mars has been viewed by astronomers for over a century. The first spacecraft to visit Mars were from the Soviet Union, now known as Russia, and visited Mars in the mid-1960's.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 37 - 09:21:50 ]
RE: [JEFFREY] 1) When are you going to visit Pluto?
Jeffrey, Unfortunately I doubt if I will get a chance to personally visit Pluto. Even the most optimistic travel times to Pluto are 7-10 years after launch. Although talked about many times, there are currently no missions planned to Pluto. If you get a chance to visit Pluto in the future, be sure to bring along some warm clothes as the surface is so cold that the Earth's atmosphere would freeze there.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 40 - 09:23:58 ]
RE: [steve] Have you touched a moon rock?
Steve, No I've not touched a Moon rock. This is because NASA attempts to keep the rocks free from contamination. If I handled a Moon rock I would leave behind the oils from my fingers. I have visited the "clean" room where the moon rocks are kept and studied. We had to put on special overalls and caps to keep the room "clean".

[ TedRoush/ARC - 42 - 09:26:31 ]
RE: [Mike] This question started off as a joke, but now we'd l;ike to know if there is an answer. The question is: If a vehicle travels at the speed of light and then turns on its headlights, what will happen to the light?
Mike, I recall reading an answer to this question somewhere, but I can't think of it now. Let me know when you create such a vehicle!

[ TedRoush/ARC - 45 - 09:29:51 ]
RE: [Devon/NBC] Do you know what kinds of minerals are in the rocks on Mars?
Devon, Based on a whole bunch of measurements of Mars from the Earth, spacecraft in orbit and on the surface of Mars, and studies of meteorites believed to have come from Mars the minerals believed to be there are known. They include minerals we find on earth in volcanic regions such as olivines, pyroxenes, and plagioclases. There also appears to be evidence for some sulfate minerals, some carbonate minerals, and some basaltic glass.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 49 - 09:32:24 ]
RE: [Duncan/NBC] How far can you see with your telescope?
Duncan, We can look beyond our solar system with telescopes. In fact if you stand outside at night and look at the stars you can also see beyond our solar system. Within our solar system we can view different regions on distant Pluto that have areas the size of a few hundreds to thousands of miles.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 50 - 09:36:07 ]
RE: [TaSheena] 1.How would you know how the sun has started and when it will die out?
TaShenna, What we know about stellar evolution comes from studying other stars that are similar to the sun. The sun finally "starts" when it gives off lots of energy. This is due to nuclear reactions occuring on the sun. Over its lifetime the nuclear fuel is slowly consumed, the sun will expand, and eventually "die out".

[ TedRoush/ARC - 54 - 09:38:28 ]
RE: [Joshua/NBC] Were you involved in the creating o the Mars Team?
Joshua, I'm not sure what Mars team your refering to. For each mission to Mars there are many scientists involved with each instrument carried on-board the spacecraft. Each instrument may well have an associated "team". I am currently a member of the Mars Global Surveyor, Thermal Emission Spectrometer team.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 55 - 09:42:25 ]
RE: [Malcolm] What is Saturn made of?
Malcolm, We do not see to the surface of Saturn because it's atmosphere is so thick. The gases we identify in the atmosphere include methane, hydrogen cyanide and other hydrocarbons.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 56 - 09:45:00 ]
RE: [steve] Are ther pieces of asteroids on earth? Could we actually pick up those pieces?
Steve, Meteorites are the objects which fall from space and land on the earth. It is believed that most of these meteorites originally came from asteroids, although a few from the moon have been identified and a few are believed to come from Mars. Yes, you could pick up these meteorites if you were lucky enough to identify them from the local rocks.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 57 - 09:48:41 ]
RE: [Anthony] What are the differences between rocks found on the Moon and rocks found on Mars?
Anthony, While we have rocks we have returned from the moon, in the meteorite collection we only have samples we believe have come from Mars. If we compare these samples, the moon rocks typically are much older than the martian samples, and the martian rocks appear to be more "weathered" than the moon rocks.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 58 - 09:49:13 ]
As a reminder, please let us know what you thought about today's chat by going to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. Your feedback is important to us!

[ TedRoush/ARC - 59 - 09:50:34 ]
RE: [DeanMontgomery] Is there a surfis to uranus?
Dean, Yes, somewhere below the thick atmospheric clouds there is a surface of uranus.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 62 - 09:52:09 ]
RE: [Clarissa] 1.Does Mercury have any weather?
Clarissa, Mercury has a very, very thin atmosphere composed mostly of atoms of sodium. With such a thin atmosphere, there is no weather as we think of it.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 63 - 09:53:16 ]
RE: [Devon/NBC] have you ever seen the rock from Mars that landed in Antarctica?
Devon, I have seen only pictures of the antarctic meteorite believed to have come from Mars, although they were pictures taken by the person who found it!

[ TedRoush/ARC - 67 - 09:55:03 ]
RE: [Sammie] Do you think it's possible to create an atmosphere on another planet so that humans can live there?
Sammie, Theoretically it is possible to create an atmosphere on another planet. However, it would require some source of the gases for the atmosphere, and a lot of energy to force the gases to become trapped around the planet.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 72 - 09:57:55 ]
As Ted answers the final questions from today's chat, we would like to thank allof you for joining us online today. A special thanks to Ted Roush for sharing his time and expertise with us in today's chat!

[ TedRoush/ARC - 71 - 09:56:47 ]
RE: [Andrea] What is the best thing about your job?
Andrea, The best thing about my job is interacting with people who think about many subjects related to solar system evolution. It's always great to see data from an object before anyone else and try to understand what it means.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 73 - 09:57:57 ]
RE: [Kimberly] How long do you work?
Kimberly, I am usually in my office about 9 hours a day, and take some homework with me when I leave at night.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 74 - 09:59:30 ]
RE: [grassi/lomitapark] How hot is it on Mars?
Grassi, At the height of summer, in the warmest locations on Mars the surface temperature typically does not reach above the freezing temperature of water.

[ TedRoush/ARC - 75 - 10:02:21 ]
RE: [Alyssa/NBC] What does Mars' surface look like from a telescope or space craft?
Alyssa, There are probably many world-wide-web pages that illustrate what Mars looks like. It depends partly on the telescope and ability of the cameras on the spacecraft. From the telescope mars has three distinct colors, red, blackish, and white. The red corresponds to "bright regions", the black to "dark regions", and the white to the polar caps. From a spacecraft (http://www.msss.com) we can see some indivdual rocks (6 ft. or 2m).

[ TedRoush/ARC - 80 - 10:07:32 ]
RE: [MrCrittenden] Do you perform environmental impact statements with respect to our visiting Mars and elsewhere in space?
Mr. Crittenden, Yes NASA is required to address not only environmental impact issues when visiting other planets, but also potential bio-contamination of the environment to visit. It would be unfortunate to visit Mars, contaminate it with bio-markers from the spacecraft, and then "discover life" on Mars based on these bio-markers.

[ Duncan/NBC - 68 - 09:55:37 ]
We enjoyed this chat because it was informatave and fun. Right now we need to go to lunch.

[ Joshua/NBC - 70 - 09:56:32 ]
We really apreciate you talking to us, and we thought it was inspirational and educational.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 76 - 10:02:52 ]
This concludes today's chat with Ted Roush from NASA Ames Research Center. Be sure to let us know what you thought about today's chat at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ steve - 77 - 10:03:12 ]
This has been very informative and has provided students in my class to realize the power of the internet and the good work that NASA is doing. Please keep it up and thank you Mr. Rousch It is important to share with students the opportunities af NASA. Thanks again

[ TedRoush/ARC - 78 - 10:04:38 ]
To All, I'm sorry if I didn't get to your question. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you all today. Ted Roush

[ Mike - 79 - 10:04:47 ]
Everyone at our site would like to thank Ted for his time and expertise. Tahnks a lot Mr. Roush.


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