The Challenge Team answers your questions
Asking the Challenge Project Team Your Questions
The opportunity to send email questions to the men and women of the Challenge
Project team is available beginning September 1, 1998 through the end of
the month. Continuing questions related to space applications may be directed
to Space Team Online Q&A. We are
grateful to the Challenge Project folks for generously volunteering their
time to support this service. To avoid using their time for duplicate questions,
before all else, please check the archive of previously asked questions
before submitting yours. The sections below will describe some guidelines
and procedures for the process.
Students, teachers and lifelong learners can email questions to the
Scott Carpenter Analog Space Station crew and the staff involved in the
Challenge Project. This interaction will be supported by a "Smart Filter"
which protects the professional from Internet overload by acting as a
buffer. The actual email addresses of these experts will remain unlisted.
Also, repetitive questions will be answered from an accumulating database
of replies; thus the valued interaction with the experts will be saved
for original questions. (You can directly search this database.)
Tips for Asking Good Questions
Each and every expert is excited about connecting with you. But it is important
to remember that the time and energy of these researchers is extremely valuable.
If possible, please review the materials available online to gain an overall
understanding of the basics.It would be best to ask questions
that are not easily answered elsewhere. For example, "How big
is the Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station?" would not be an appropriate
We recognize that this creates a gray area about whether or not a question
is appropriate. Simply use your best judgment. Since the main idea is
to excite students about the wonders of science and research, please err
on the side of participating. If you are not sure whether or not to send
a question, send it.
Some classroom teachers have used a group dynamic to refine the questions
that they email to experts. For example, after first studying Challenge
Project material, students divide into groups and create a few questions
per group. All of the questions are then shared, and students are given
an opportunity to find answers to their classmates' questions. Those that
remain unanswered are sent to the Challenge Project team.
Ideally, the act of sending questions will further engage the students
in their learning. Classroom teachers might want to help students to learn
to ask good questions. Here are three questions the students might be
encouraged to ask themselves as they submit their questions:
What do I want to know?
Is this information to be found in a resource I could easily check (such
as a school encyclopedia)?
Why do I want to know it? ("What will I do with the information?" or "How
will I use what I learn?")
The last question is the most interesting. Students' reflection on why
they want to know something is a very valuable learning experience.
How to Submit Your Questions (Address and Format)
Questions will be accepted from September 1, 1998 through the end of the
month. To submit a question during that time, send it to the following email
In the subject field, please put the letters "QA:" before a descriptive
subject. Also, provide a sentence of background information to help the
experts understand the level of response required. The following example
should illustrate this idea.
FROM: your email address
SUBJECT: QA: weightlessness underwater
I am an 8th grader from Biloxi, Mississippi.
Is there anything done on the Space Analog Station to imitate the
weightlessness of space?
Thanks, Sophie Jackson
We will acknowledge and answer all questions as quickly as possible. Our
goal is to provide a basic acknowledgment immediately. In most cases we
should be able to provide an answer within ten days to two weeks.
Limits on Submitting Questions
One Question per Message If you or your class have several questions
which are unrelated, we ask that you please send each unrelated question
in a separate email message rather than as one message with many different
questions. While this may be inconvenient, it is important because it will
help us to keep track of the questions and ensure that no question remains
unanswered. Messages that do not follow this request will be unnecessarily
delayed as we go through the extra step of splitting up the messages ourselves.
Twenty Question Limit Any individual teacher will be limited
to submitting a total of twenty (20) questions during the life of the
project. Hopefully this will encourage more classroom discussion about
what students want to know and will lead to research done before asking
Browsing Answers to Questions Already Asked
An archive of question/answer pairs
of previously asked questions is available.
Searching Question/Answer Pairs
A capability to search for interesting
question/answer pairs is available. The system relies on the user choosing
one or more keywords related to their interest. Every existing question/answer
pair will be searched to see if it contains the keywords.
Receiving All Question/Answer Pairs as They are Posted
A capability for those people who would like to receive ongoing email with
answers to all of the questions asked will exist. Each night, one mail message
will be sent to those interested. This message will contain a copy of every
question/answer pair generated that day. If you would like to receive these
message, please send an email to
In the message body, write these words: