[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 0 - 15:03:30 ]
Welcome to another in our series of Mars Millennium & Space Scientists Online
QuestChats! Our special guest will be space physicist Daniel Winterhalter. Daniel
will be in the chatroom at 10 am, PDT (1 pm, EDT) on Tuesday, May 9. Be sure to
have your questions ready and please read Daniel's bio BEFORE coming to the chat
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 6
- 10:02:57 ]
Hello everyone, this is Daniel. I am here ready or not to answer your questions.
I see two already, so here we go!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 7
- 10:05:48 ]
RE: [christopher] Hi, I'm doing a project
on life on Mars do you have any input on this thanks ....
Hi Christopher, this is a good project. At this point we know very little about
the possibility of life on mars. Missions are going there to find out about the
water (subsurface), required for life. And of course, we want to find any evidence
for past life...
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 11
- 10:09:08 ]
RE: [Brenda] Does the solar wind have a direct
effect on radio or television transmissions?
Good question Brenda. Yes indeed it does. You may have heard it yourself, somtimes
when you listen with a small radio receiver, the sound sot of "warbels, fades
in and out, etc. That is somtimes do to solar interference. It can get so bad
at times that is knocks out power transmision line to create a blackout, or knock
out com satellites like last year, remember?
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 13
- 10:12:58 ]
RE: [Joe] How did you participate in voyager
Hi Joe, Voyager was my very first project. I was a member of the flight team,
starting shortly after launch. I was working in the science support area where
we helped to design the observations, command the instruments, looked at the instrument
health, and many other tasks. It was so exciting during the Jupiter encounter,
I did not want to go home, and kept a sleeping bag under my desk...
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 16
- 10:15:27 ]
RE: [Laura] what was you involvment in pioneer
Laura, for Pioneer 11 I was working with the magnetometer team, helping to reduce
the data, having a first look at it and trying to understand what we were seeing
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 18
- 10:21:36 ]
RE: [VegaClass] Our class is doing a simulated
shuttle mission to Mars, can you give us some suggestions of experiments we can
perform on our mission?
Oh boy, that is a tough one, only because it is big in scope. By shuttle mission
I take it you mean one with people on board, and that is going to land. There
are a gazillion things you would do, I am sure. First of all, there are experiments
to perform that would establish wheter or not we can use the water there for life
support, and as a resource (fuel). For more scientific activities, I would think
the people shuld look for signs of life (by turning over rocks and studying it!),
something that a robot will have great difficulty in doing.
[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 19 - 10:24:58 ]
EVERYONE: I'm collecting all of your questions in my "moderator's queue." There
are some really great ones here! I'm posting 3 at a time so as not to overwhelm
Daniel with all of your great enthusiasm :-)
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 22
- 10:26:46 ]
RE: [VegaClass] What is the most interesting
information you have gathered from all the space missions you have worked on?
VegaClass, that too is hard one to answer. Typically, the information comes very
incrementally, and it takes a lot of work to piece things together to get a overall
picture of what is going on. But our recent discovery that Mars does not have
a magnetic field at present (like the Earth does), and that it has strong fossil
magnetic fields, certainly ranks up there. It tells us a lot about how the planet
has formed originally, how it has evolved, and how it looks inside right now.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 23
- 10:32:36 ]
RE: [VegaClass/Roberto] Is Jet Propulsion
only used in Space Exploration?
Hi Roberto. Well, jet propulsion is actually a somewhat general term. It means
that you move a vehicle by heating up a fuel (exploding it), and force it out
a narrow opening. Actually, you could say that when you blow up a balloon, and
then let it go, it'll fly around jet propelled because the air is forced out fast
pusing the balloon around. So rockets (used in space) are a form of jet propulsions,
as well as jets on airplanes.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 24
- 10:35:47 ]
RE: [VegaClass] What are Mars Observer interplanetary
I am not sure about that. Mars Observer was a probe we lost just as it was about
to enter Mars' orbit. I suppose it could be that the term "interplanetary probe"
was used because it travelled though interplanetary space to get there.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 28
- 10:39:34 ]
RE: [Brenda] Will NASA attempt another Mars
expedition before the end of the decade?
Hi Brenda, you mean before 2010? Yes, certainly. The plan is to launch two every
26 month through 2006 and beyond, culminating in a sample return, and eventally,
with a manned mission. The excact schedule is a bit uncertain at this point until
we figure out the casues and remidies fro the recent failures.
[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 29 - 10:40:14 ]
EVERYONE: We have about 15 minutes left in our chat today!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 30
- 10:46:33 ]
RE: [Laura] what's a magnetometer and what's
the magnetometer team?
Hi Laura, a magnetometer is a science instrument that measures magnetic fields.
In its simplest way, you could say it is like a a compass with which you can map
out the Earth's magnetic field. We have much more comlicated magnetometers, of
course, and to get one on on a mission we team up to design it, built it, and,
most importantly, interpret the data that is measured by it once it flies in space.
[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 32 - 10:51:51 ]
EVERYONE: There are only 5 minutes left in our chat with Daniel today. Please
don't send anymore questions and Daniel will do his best to answer the remaining
15 questions that I still have in my question queue. An archive to this chat will
be posted later today for you to review!
[ VegaClass - 33 - 10:52:05 ]
Mr. Winterhalter, this is the first time we have done this, thank you for making
it so memorable for my students! Good luck in the rest of your endeavors!
[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 34 - 10:54:23 ]
EVERYONE: There is still one more Mars chat this week that you can still sign
up for. Planetary Geologist Jeff Plescia will be chatting on Thursday at 4 pm,
Pacific (7 pm, Eastern).
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 35
- 10:54:37 ]
RE: [Alicia] Wow, Mr. Winterhalter, your
pofile is so complete, I can hardly ask an intelligent question. How does your
career path differ from saomeone who earns a comparable degee in something like
aerospace engineeing? Would they be doing pretty much the same thing, or totally
Alicia, there are some distinct differences between science and engineering activities.
There is some overlap, to be sure, but with an aerospace engineering degree you
would likely be more concerned with the "how" (designing sapcecraft, missions,
orbits, etc), than with the "why" (why is mars red?, why its atmospere so thin?,
why are there aurora?). (Of corse, you could recast that with a "what" flavor,
too, like what causes the aurora, etc., but you get my drift.)
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 42
- 11:01:48 ]
RE: [Scott] What insights do you hope to
gain from your solar wind investigations?
Hi Scott, finally a Solar Wind question. Well, the solar wind comes directly from
the sun, so by analysing it we get information of sun stuff not otherwise obtainable.
It provides information about the star on which our life depends on. Also, the
solar wind interacts with planets, including the earth, to cause aurora and other
atmosperic effects like on the Earth or Jupiter, or even take away most of the
atmosphere like we think happend on Mars. Finally, the sun is just the nearest
star, so there are stellar winds that eventally interact with our solar wind.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 43
- 11:04:37 ]
Ok everyone, lots and lots of good questions, I am sure we could go on for anther
year or ten. But I have to sign off now, but I promise I will answer the posted
questions today. So, it was fun everyone, and I feel inspired by your questions.
[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 45 - 11:07:55 ]
Bob: Daniel will do his best to answer a couple of your questions today, but he
won't have time to answer all 12 of them. Also, he will not be able to send the
answers to your email address -- they will be answered here in the chat room.
You can check the chat archive later today.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 46
- 11:11:38 ]
RE: [WarrenClass] Thank you very much. This
was our first experience with a chat and it was very informative.
You are welcome, WarrenClass, I had fun too.
[ Alicia - 47 - 11:13:50 ]
Okay bye now! Thank you and enjoy your day!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 48
- 11:14:20 ]
RE: [Alicia] Thanks again for chatting with
us this hour, Mr. Winterhalter!!!
You are welcome, Alicia. Keep up your interest!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 49
- 11:17:31 ]
RE: [Alicia] How much hype do you have to
deal with in your position as a public interface?
Oh its not bad. I am not really a "public interface" as such, we have pros for
that. But all us scientists and engineers here are happy to discuss these things,
we feel passionate about them.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 50
- 11:30:05 ]
RE: [Bob] What made you decide to enter this
line of work? What kind of schooling do you need? Is there any special training
required? Is there anything you would have done differently in high school if
you knew then what you know now? What is the basic range of salary for a person
of your position? Does it vary at all? Would you choose a carrier over this one?
Which? How is math used in your job? What courses did you take in high school
that help you in your job today? Would you suggest this job to someone else? Do
you enjoy your job? These questions are for a school project. It would be of great
help if you sent what answers you want to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for
Hi Bob. I wanted to be a scientist from my very early teens. I got interested
in space, building model rockets, reading sci fi, etc. In terms of schooling,
as a scientist you pretty much need to plan on getting a PhD in physcics, or Astronomy,
any physical science really, whatever grabs you, at the best university you can
get into. Math will become your alternate language, get good at it, practice it
like you would doing laps in the pool. Its the tool you'll use to explore and
express your discoveries. Another thing, though: You HAVE to publish papers, in
plain english, explaning your research - learn how to write, write, write. Take
writing classes. If you want to make a lot of money, this may not be the carreer.
It pays fine, starting with about $60,000/year, going up to maybe 120,000 after
MANY year. Lots of travel to all over the world. And you can't wait to get up
in the morning to get to work... its a great life!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 51
- 11:33:35 ]
RE: [VegaClass] Mr. Winterhalter, this is
the first time we have done this, thank you for making it so memorable for my
students! Good luck in the rest of your endeavors!
Thank you VegaClass, it was fun!
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 54
- 11:38:19 ]
RE: [Alicia] Are interested in solar winds
because you are a space plasma physicist?
Well Alicia, I am a scientist, interested in space and planets and stars. Stars
are made of plasma, and space is full of star stuff, and planets swim in it too...
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 55
- 11:46:28 ]
RE: [Alicia] What kinds of touble can the
solar wind make for Nasa? Or maybe you can put the solar wind to use? Wouldnt
it be great to have all that energy bottled up?
I don't think that the solar wind makes a lot of trouble for spacecraft, although
there is a high energy component that can during strong solar activity. But in
general, the energetics of the dolar wind are very low. Do you want to try to
figure it out? The solar wind goes with about 1 million miles per hour. Very fast,
right? But the number of particles (protons and electrons) in a cube 1 cm a side
is only 10 (all numbers are rough), at the earth' distance from the sun. So can
you calculate what the energy of the solar wind is? Compare that to the enery
that the sunlight brings at earth (about 1300 watts/cm^2).
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 56
- 11:50:37 ]
RE: [Alicia] Thank you for your time Mr.
Winterhalter. Do you have any suggestions for up and coming engineers? How likely
is it that a peson with just a degee in electical engineeing could become involved
in the making of Mars probes and other types of expeditions?
Electical engineers are always needed, and are intgral to building successful
missions. Absolutely a good carreer path.
[ DanielWinterhalter/SpacePhysicist - 57
- 11:53:13 ]
RE: [Alicia] There is a LOT of wok to be
done on the Mars expeditions. How involved do you think you are going to be in
the planning and implementation stages? Do you think your talents are being put
to best use?
Yes I will be involved with Mars a while longer. But I am concentrating on the
plentiful data we are getting from Mars Global Surveyor. This is the really interesting
part for the scientist...