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Space Scientists Online QuestChat

January 7, 1999

Steve Lee
Hubble Space Telescope Mars Team, Surface Expert
University of Colorado, Boulder



[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:36:37 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] The Montessori School of Corona 3rd-6th graders are preparing questions. Looking forward to todays chat.
Good to "see" you all again :-) Our chat with Steve Lee will begin in about 25 minutes...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 6 - 09:39:27 ]
For you early arrivers: Another Web site to check out before the chat begins is the Mars Surveyor 98 site. It will give you the latest info on the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander-- http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/index.html

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 10 - 09:58:31 ]
RE: [Jamie-Mrs.Brehm/RDElem] Hi! How long will the chat last. My students are at lunch at this time. We are very sad!!! We have been studying the history of Mars all morning.
Hello! The chats all typically last 1 hr. I'm sorry to hear that you kids had to go to lunch. Would it be possible to eat their lunches where the computers are? There's another Mars chat scheduled for next week (Jan. 12) with Ken Edgett at noon, PST. Perhaps your kids can participate in that one.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 12 - 09:59:33 ]
RE: [Mrs.Blackmon/ClintonElementarySchool] Hi, I have students for the chat
Hi Mrs. Blackmon and students! The chat will begin in just 5 minutes... Stay tuned :-)

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 14 - 10:01:12 ]
RE: [Jamie-Mrs.Brehm/RDElem] Can I find the transcript for the chat later somewhere?
Yes, transcripts from all chats are made available within a day or two of the chat. All you need to do to find it is to go back to the chat registeration page on Space Scientists online and you will see a link to it there, as soon as I get it up.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 16 - 10:03:32 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Sandy, My students vary in age and have limited knowledge of Mars, so the questions will reflect what they want to know - the web sites are great but a lot of reading for the younger ones and they don't all have computers at home to spend a lot of time. They really love these chats.
Mrs. Mock: I understand! And I'm thrilled to hear that there are some younger kids participating today :-) We love questions at all levels!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 18 - 10:06:57 ]
Welcome to everyone! We're so glad you could make it today for our Space Scientists Online QuestChat with Dr. Steve Lee. Steve studies Mars from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was witness to the Mars Climate Orbiter launch! Welcome Steve!

[ SteveLee/Mars - 22 - 10:07:50 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] Welcome to everyone! We're so glad you could make it today for our Space Scientists Online QuestChat with Dr. Steve Lee. Steve studies Mars from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was witness to the Mars Climate Orbiter launch! Welcome Steve!
Hi everyone! Glad to be here! I'm a "one-fingered typist", so please bear with my slow typing....

[ SteveLee/Mars - 24 - 10:08:30 ]
RE: [shiraewallace-Williams/Northridge] What are the major gasses in the Martian atmosphere?
The main gas is carbon-dioxide.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 32 - 10:10:13 ]
RE: [Bridget-Sullivan/Northridge] Can you survive by breathing the Martian atomosphere?
In addition to not having very much oxygen, the pressure is also very low (less that 1% sea level pressure on Earth -- about like what a jet fighter would see at 80,000 feet altitude). So, you'd need a space suit tolive on Mars.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 37 - 10:11:08 ]
RE: [Gabrielaandmatt-Sullivan/Northridge] did Mars have an ozone layer
Marsdoes have a little bit of ozone in the atmosphere, butmuch less than in Earth's "ozone layer".

[ SteveLee/Mars - 45 - 10:12:34 ]
RE: [Tom-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] Where would the best place be to land on Mars?
The first landings havebeen in relatively safe places -- flat and not too many rocks, so the landers don't crash.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 52 - 10:13:51 ]
RE: [Mrs.Blackmon/ClintonElementarySchool] Why did you name one of the rocks you found Yogi?
Many of the rocks at Pathfinder reminded scientists of cartoon characters. Yogi looked like a bear laying down with his back to us ...

[ SteveLee/Mars - 58 - 10:15:45 ]
RE: [Jamie-Mrs.Brehm/RDElem] are people planning to walk on mars?
Eventually, people will travel to Mars. It''ll probably be at least another 15 or 20 years ...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 64 - 10:17:25 ]
RE: [Tom-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] what state are you in?
Topm: Steve is Boulder, CO. Please read Steve's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/slee.html

[ SteveLee/Mars - 66 - 10:17:57 ]
RE: [joeph-Williams/Northridge] can you survive in the temperature range on mars
Again, you'd need a heated pressure suit to live on Mars. During the day, it mayget as warm as the freezing point of water. At night, though, it drops more than 100 degrees below zero.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 75 - 10:20:47 ]
RE: [Gabrielaandmatt-Sullivan/Northridge] how would a plane act on mars
Sincethe atmosphere is sothin, a plane would need very large wings to fly. Also, you'd have to carry along a supply of oxygen for the engine to "burn".

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 76 - 10:20:53 ]
EVERYONE: NO MORE QUESTIONS PLEASE! There are almost 80 of you out there firing questions at just one scientist! There is no way for him to keep up with you and to answer all of your questions! If you want Steve to answer your questions, please DO NOT SEND ANYMORE QUESTIONS UNTIL I GIVE YOU THE GO AHEAD. Thanks :-)

[ Tom-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool - 84 - 10:23:32 ]
PEOPLE PLEASE NO MORE QUESTIONS FOR THE ROCKET SCIENTIST HE IS THINKING AND CAN'T TYPE THAT FAST.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 85 - 10:23:36 ]
RE: [mollie-Williams/Northridge] How did the water disaper?
That's a good question! Since Mars is smaller than Erath, lots of the water vapor has "escaped" to space. Some has been locked up into rocks by chemical reactions (by forming iron-oxide -- rust!). Today, most of the waterisfrozen in the polar caps.

[ Jessica-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool - 86 - 10:24:31 ]
A year on Mars is 687 days. The day is 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 23 seconds.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 87 - 10:24:54 ]
RE: [Nick-Sullivan/Northridge] What pressure does the Earth atmosphere on Mars exert?
Are you asking whatthe pressure is on Mars? It's less than 1% what you find at sea level on Earth.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 91 - 10:26:43 ]
RE: [Tom-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] are we going to colonize on mars?
At some point, I'm sure we'll make a colony on Mars. I expect the irst many "visits" will be fairly quick round-trips, but once enough supplies have been carried to Mars, then people could stayfor longer periods.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 95 - 10:28:12 ]
RE: [Manuel-M.Scharfy/HTLWienerNeustadt] What do you think, are the buildings on Cydonia Handmade or are they just created by winds?
The high-resolution pictures returned byMars Global Surveyor last year show these features to be eroded hills and mesas. The "face" is due to shadows on one of these mesas.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 101 - 10:29:51 ]
RE: [Abby-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] Dr. My team was wondering if you can plant trees and other plants like that on mars?
The wide temperatures swings would probably kill any trees, as would all the UV light hitting the surface. If the plants were protected, though, maybe...

[ SteveLee/Mars - 111 - 10:31:43 ]
RE: [Cleasha-Sullivan/Northridge] DO you know if theres life on Mars And what kind
We don't know, at this point. That'sone of the things were looking for with all the missions we'll be sending to Mars over the next 10 years or so. If life ever existed on Mars, it was probably single-celled. Any Martians were probably microbes!

[ SteveLee/Mars - 115 - 10:33:56 ]
RE: [AlexisR3grade-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] I'm only in the third grade but what do I need to study to get a job like yours?
It's a good time to think about that! Take all the science and math courses you can. To see how Igot my background, check out my biography ...

[ SteveLee/Mars - 118 - 10:35:34 ]
RE: [LetashaandPaige-Sullivan/Northridge] Does Mars have seasons ?
Yes. Mars is tilted on its axis,just like the Earth, so it has seasons as well. Sincea Mars "year" is about 2 Earth years, each season lasts about twice as long as on Earth...

[ SteveLee/Mars - 119 - 10:36:59 ]
RE: [Jessica-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] What kind of materials from the planet would we be able to use to protect the colony from solar winds and dust storms?
We'dprobaby want to bury a colony underground. That would protect people from solar radiation, as well as dust storms and the cold temperatures on the surface.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 122 - 10:39:35 ]
RE: [Michael3rdGrade-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Our Santa Ana winds have been almost 90 miles an hour in California. How fast are the sand storms on Mars? How fast can the rovers go on Mars?
We think winds of at least a couple hundred MPH are need to make a dust storm on Mars. So far, though, the maximum winds observed by any of the landers were less than 100 MPH. So, windspeeds are one of the things we'll still be studying with the upcoming Mars missions.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 125 - 10:41:26 ]
RE: [Tom-Ms.E/WillistonCentralSchool] are there any chemicals in the polar ice caps?
Other than water and carbon-dioxide ices, we don't know yet. Dust certainly falls out of the atmosphere onto the polar caps, so that will carry other chemicals into the region.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 126 - 10:41:47 ]
Yes, Mars is really red!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 131 - 10:42:48 ]
RE: [Manuel-M.Scharfy/HTLWienerNeustadt] Are there any Mars missions planed in the near future?
Manuel: Yes, many! check out the following web site: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/slee.html

[ SteveLee/Mars - 132 - 10:43:18 ]
RE: [Manuel-M.Scharfy/HTLWienerNeustadt] I've heard of projects to make the Mars more "acceptable" for humans. Such things as a huge mirror or starting A-Bombs on the surface. Are such projects really makeable or are they just Science Fiction?
Right now, they're just science fiction. First, we need toexplore Mars and find out what it's like in it's "natural state". I, at least, hope it'll be a long time before we start trying to change Mars to suit ourselves!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 133 - 10:43:37 ]
RE: [vanessa-Sullivan/Northridge] do you think there can be life on mars
Vanessa: Steve already answered this question earlier. Scroll back through the text for answer.

[ WESLEY-Williams/Northridge - 142 - 10:44:06 ]
RE: [Ellie-Sullivan/Northridge] I just had my second class come in. I will try to not repeat questions from the fisrt class
Thanks Ellie :-)

[ SteveLee/Mars - 145 - 10:44:23 ]
RE: [NickMaeann-Sullivan/Northridge] How does the pull of gravity on Mars compare to the pull of gravity on Earth? ars compare to the pull
The surfacegravity on Mars is about 1/3 Earth's.

- 164 - 10:45:39 ]
RE: [WESLEY-Williams/Northridge] Does the Earth have a atosphere
Yes, Wesley, Earth does have an atmosphere!

[ WESLEY-Williams/Northridge - 170 - 10:47:07 ]
RE: [Oeyvind-Sandoe/Storetveit] How large are the storms on Mars if you compare them with some of our hurricanes?
Most dust storms on Mars are much bigger than storms on Earth. Every now and then, a dust storm can go "global", so the entire surface of Mars is covered by dust clouds.

[ grace-Williams/Northridge - 183 - 10:48:42 ]
HOW LONG DID THE WATER ON MARS LAST

[ SteveLee/Mars - 192 - 10:49:33 ]
RE: [Mr.Krastev/UniversityofEconomicsVarna] what contain, consist Marsian soil? 0,1-1 m. deep ?
We really don't know -- we've only been able to dig down a few tens of centimeters (with the VikingLander spacecraft). Most scientists, though, think the soil layer is meters thick.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 200 - 10:51:13 ]
EVERYONE: THERE ARE 10 MINUTES LEFT IN TODAY'S CHAT. STEVE WILL NOW TRY TO ANSWER ALL REMAINING QUESTIONS.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 202 - 10:51:38 ]
RE: [grace-Williams/Northridge] HOW LONG DID THE WATER ON MARS LAST
We think there was alot more water on Mars in the first billion or so years after it was formed. The water seems to have slowly been lost as Mars aged. Today, there's not very much left.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 203 - 10:52:11 ]
RE: [kevin-Sullivan/Northridge] when are people going to mars
Kevin: NASA is planning for people to go to Mars in 2015 at the very earliest. It all depends on $$.

[ SteveLee/Mars - 204 - 10:53:15 ]
RE: [Manuel-M.Scharfy/HTLWienerNeustadt] Are there any Mars missions planed in the near future?
Yes -- two missions have been launched in the past month. There are plans for two missions to be sent about every two years for thenext decade ...

[ WESLEYWHITHAM-Williams/Northridge - 208 - 10:53:21 ]
DOES MARS HAVE A ATIMOSPHERE

[ SteveLee/Mars - 210 - 10:55:23 ]
RE: [WESLEYWHITHAM-Williams/Northridge] DOES MARS HAVE A ATIMOSPHERE
Yes -- see some of my earlier answers.

[ daniellaaleesha-Sullivan/Northridge- 220 - 10:57:59 ]
RE: [VanessaJeoy-Sullivan/Northridge] would you like to live on mars
I'd love to visit someday! I'm not sure I'd want to leave Earth "forever", but I'd definately like to spend a few years looking around!

[ SteveLee/Mars - 221 - 10:58:49 ]
RE: [Danielle6grade-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] I'm in sixth grade and have been touch typing for 4 years. So I have been typing all Montessori's questions. We'll hold of on the questions but we're still here reading your answers.
Daniel, I wish I could type! Maybe you can teach me someday...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 225 - 11:01:14 ]
EVERYONE: It's time for Steve to get back to his real work! Thank you all for joining us today! You sent in some really great questions that showed you did your homework! Good for you! Join us next week for another Mars chat with Ken Edgett.

[ Ellie-Sullivan/Northridge - 226 - 11:02:17 ]
thank you for taking the time to visit with our students Steve

[ Manuel-M.Scharfy/HTLWienerNeustadt - 227 - 11:02:21 ]
Ok, thanks for answering the questions, Dr. Lee!

[ SteveLee/Mars - 228 - 11:03:32 ]
RE: [SallyCatherine-Mrs.Blackmon/ClintonElementarySchool] We know that Mars has two moons,but we were wondering if they are both full at the same time?
Maybe. Phobos orbits Mars several times a day, so it "catches up" with Deimos frequently. When they're both on the side of Mars opposite the sun, they may both be full. However, both moons are so close to Mars,they may be in Mars' shadow at that point, so it may be a rare thing. This is an interesing question -- I'd have to sit down and think about the geometry for awhile to give a more definate answer ...

[ MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona - 229 - 11:03:35 ]
Thanks for answering MSOC's questions. My students really enjoyed this chat!

[ SteveLee/Mars - 230 - 11:04:16 ]
Thanks for the good questions, everyone! Hope we can chatagain soon. 'Bye for now.

 
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