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Space Scientists Online
Mars Millennium & Black History Month QuestChat

February 23, 2000

Daniel Winterhalter
Space Physicist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 2 - 10:45:58 ]
Today's Mars Millennium and Black History Month QuestChat with space physicist Daniel Winterhalter will begin at 11 am, Pacific. Be sure to read Daniel's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/sso/team/winterhalter.html -- Have your questions ready!

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 7 - 11:06:20 ]
Greetings, everyone, Daniel Winterhalter here and I am ready to answer questions. Well, at least I will attempt to answer questions, so fire away!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 12 - 11:15:30 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Hello,we are from Montgomery High School and we would like to talk to Daniel Winterhalter.
Welcome Montgomergy High School. Daniel is here and ready to take your questions!

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 14 - 11:19:54 ]
RE: [Toni-Toni/ColoradoSchoolofMines] Is wind generation a feasible energy source for a system that will heat soil to extract water from Mars?
Hi Toni, a good one. I am not sure that would work, but it should be easely calculatable. The atmospheric density on Mars is low, much lower than on the Earth (I dont remember thet value off hand). But the pressure exerected by the wind would be 0.5 x (air density) x (aispeed squared). So if the air density on Mars is, say 0.1 that of Earth, the windmill area would have to be 10 times larger than a similar one at earth (given the wind speed is the same.)

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 16 - 11:23:18 ]
RE: [DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist] Hi Toni, a good one. I am not sure that would work, but it should be easely calculatable. The atmospheric density on Mars is low, much lower than on the Earth (I dont remember thet value off hand). But the pressure exerected by the wind would be 0.5 x (air density) x (aispeed squared). So if the air density on Mars is, say 0.1 that of Earth, the windmill area would have to be 10 times larger than a similar one at earth (given the wind speed is the same.)
Toni, to follow up my answer, it should work in priciple, but it is not clear to me that it is a practical solution. But one that should be followed up, and reserached. Sounds like a good class or term paper project to me.

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 19 - 11:25:59 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Since you live so close to us, we'd love for you to visit our campus and continue the discussion of your work.
Hello Aztecs, we could arrange that. What city are you in?

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 22 - 11:28:53 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Daniel, just wondering are you ever going to answer any of our questions?
It seems the net is a bit slow today, I am answering as quickly as I see the messages. Yes, I do get involved to some extend, primarily through my son activities (cub scouts, school, etc.)

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 23 - 11:33:32 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] 2.Do you belive there is life on other planets?
Life on other planets. Yes, I do, and it is a believe at this point, since there is no direct evidence yet. But, the fact that life, even on our planet, is so ubiquitous (just open your fridge and check out that old milk container), and considering that likely there are many many other planets, some of which we are starting to discover now, I can not help but think that life is and has evolved elswhere.

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 26 - 11:38:08 ]
RE: [Toni-Toni/ColoradoSchoolofMines] We have researched the use of microwaves to extract water from soil. Do you feel that this would be a resonable method for water extraction from martian soil? We have settled on the use of solar power, however, we are concerned about dust storms and the collection of the dust on the solar panels. Are there any methods other than mechanical to repel/remove dust from remote solar panels?
Are you thinking of evaporating the ices with the microwaves, and than capturing the water vapor? How would you capture it? Yes, dust is a problem. It appears that there lots of flower-fine dust, even in the absence of a full blown storm. You might consider electrostatic repulsion...

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 29 - 11:42:26 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] What advise would you give to someone who wants to follow your steps?
My advice would be to continue just what you are doing right now, be involved with the questions we are talking about, do projects in you class and on your own such as Mars environment, and how to make it our own. And then, get ready early to attend a good University, and don't get stopped by the occational setbacks.

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 31 - 11:44:34 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] we are in South San Diego, her's the address 3250 Palm Avenue San Diego, CA 92154
I am going to be in the San Diego area in 2 or 3 weeks. We could arrange for something for that time. If you like, give me a call sometime (818) 354-3238.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 34 - 11:47:22 ]
EVERYONE: There are about 10 minutes left in today's chat with Daniel. Keep your questions coming :-)

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 39 - 11:52:38 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Why do you study solar winds?
The solar wind comes, obviously, from the sun, and therfore tells us a lot about the sun. And, I am sure you agree, the sun is very(!) important to us, to all life on Earth. By looking at what the solar wind is made of we can find out what the sun is made of, and what dynamic processes are at play in the solar corona. Further, the solar wind runs into the planets, makes the aurae, sometimes damages satellites and power grids (solar storms), and modifies planetary atmospheres.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 40 - 11:53:40 ]
EVERYONE: When today's chat with Daniel is over, please let us know how we did by filling out the short survey at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-survey -- Thanks!

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 42 - 11:55:11 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] What high school did you attended?
I did not go to any high school. But that's a long story, maybe I will tell you about that some other time...

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 44 - 11:56:52 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] all my classmates want an answer to the following question!!! Doyou feel like a rolemodel for all Afican-Americans.
You bet!!!!

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 47 - 12:00:48 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Did you find it more difficult to go to a community college before attending a 4- year university?
Because I did not go to high school I had little choice but to make it up at a JC. But that turned out to be a very good experince. However, it is a long long road to take, and if you have the chance to go straigth to a good 4-year university, you safe yourself a lot of time and agony.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 48 - 12:02:22 ]
EVERYONE: I'm sorry to say that today's chat with Daniel has come to an end. Thanks so much for all of your questions! The archive of this chat will be up later this afternoon. Be sure to check out our chat schedule for more chat opportunities -- http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events

[ aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh - 49 - 12:02:54 ]
Well we would like to thank you for talking to us, and informing us about your carrer. I hope we can arrenge something so you can come down and visit us soon.Thanks once again. Aztecs

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 50 - 12:04:34 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] Does your job require you to be away from your love ones for a long period of time?
Long periods of time? No, not really. I travel a lot, all over the world, but my trips are usualy 1 or 2 weeks long. It is a lot of fun, to go to, say, Europa a couple of times a year, but when more important things come up, like my son's birthday I will punt. I have the freedom to set priorities....

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 51 - 12:07:47 ]
Ok, everyone, this was fun. I am happy to see all your very good questions. Keep up the good work! -Daniel Winterhalter PS I will answer a few of the remaining question I just saw.

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 52 - 12:12:58 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] How does you son feel about your carrer?
I think my son Tristan likes what I do, he has always asked me a lot of questions about it. And yes, I would love it if he would become a scientist, because I know the very deep satisfaction and the good outlook on life he could derive from it. But this is somthing that will have to come from him, and whatever he chooses I will fully encourage him. As long as he comits himself to do it well.

[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 53 - 12:34:04 ]
RE: [aztecs-Aztecs/MontgomeryHigh] 1. What's the purpose of exploring space?
Uhh, a big one, Aztecs: "What's the purpose of exploring space?" People have been writing books about this! But in a nutshell, for me, it is because WE HAVE TO! We, as humans, explore. If that were not true, we would not have survived out of the prehistoric times. We have explored the Earth, we know pretty well its general makeup. Consider your home: You need know the inside, the layouts of the rooms, whats in them etc. But in addition, you need to know whats on the outside, the yard, the neighbourhood, the country, the weather. Otherwise, how could you function, how could you keep your home safe, how could you improve it and its occupants? We need to know about the sun, the other planets, how they came about and how they will evolve. Otherwise we have no control over our future as people. Dinosours lived a lot, a lot, longer that we did. But then they got snuffed out. The difference with us is, that we can (or will be able to) see things coming, we understand what might happen. And we will (eventually) be able to colonise other planets. Besides, all this is SO MUCH FUN!


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