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Space Scientists Online
Mars Millenium QuestChat

June 17, 1999

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

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 0 - 08:32:14 ]
Hello! Quest's first Mars Millenium QuestChat with Steve Lee will begin in approximately 25 minutes (9 am, PDT). Be sure to read Steve's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/slee.html

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 3 - 08:55:56 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Hi Sandy!! Finally, we meet again!! :)))
Hello Miguel! Nice to "see" you again :-) The chat will begin in about 5 minutes.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 5 - 08:59:18 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] I know...I just entered now, just to see who was here! :)) I'm going to have an exam Monday, but I could get some time to participate in this chat! :) By the way...are we going to have another chat with Dr. Sten still this month??
I'm really glad that you were able to make it today :-) No more chats with Sten until September. He's taking the summer off! But we do have nine Mars chats scheduled-- starting today through the end of Sept!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 8 - 09:02:32 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] Hi, I'm here.
Hi Chris! Where are you chatting from?

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 9 - 09:03:08 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Many people subscribed for this chat?
Last time I checked, it was 20+...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 12 - 09:07:08 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Well...I believe many of you at Ames Research Center are going on holidays this Summer isn't it?? Are we going to miss your nice hosting?? :((
Most of the project will be taking a break from conducting chats. however, Space Scientists Online will conduct a series of 9 Mars chats, thru' the end of 'Sept. There are other Quest activities you should check out at-- http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events. Will you be taking a summer break, or will you be in class all summer?

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 13 - 09:08:26 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] At home, Daly City, with my iMAC.
Nice place!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 15 - 09:09:38 ]
Steve Lee is here and ready to take your questions. Now is a good time, Chris and Miguel to ask everything you've always wanted to know about Mars, as it's just the 4 of us right now! Go for it! And WELCOME Steve :-)

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 16 - 09:10:29 ]
Hi everyone! Glad to be here today.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 17 - 09:10:52 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Sandy: by the way...before Steve comes, I would like to ask you something. I'm the portuguese coordinator from The Planetary Society and I'm the moderator of the portuguese mailing list of TPS. I think this chats are very educational and I was wondering if you would liek me to promote them in my mailing list! Waht about it? :)
Are you kidding?!?!? Absolutely! Please send me your email address to: sdueck@quest.arc.nasa.gov

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 20 - 09:13:55 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] ok....Steve, first of all, good morning to you. I'm from Portugal, so here it's 7.pm...my first question is: in which computer format you take the pictures from HST?
Miguel, We get the images in FITS format -- a standard in the astronomy community. For the pictures, the range of data values (DN's) is from 0 (black) to 4096 (white).

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 21 - 09:14:49 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Sandy: my e-mail was just righ now sent to you!:)
Ok Miguel, I'll keep a watch out for it!

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 24 - 09:17:58 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Do you take pictures ONLY from Mars?
That's the only HST observing program I've been involved with. We've also triedto catch Phobos and Deimos in the same frame with Mars, but they are too faint to capture in the same frame. We've also looked for a dust ring around Mars -- with negative results so far.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 27 - 09:20:26 ]
RE: [Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA] Steve, Hi--I've curious about where the martian water went. It seems obvious from the images we are receiving that there were once large volumes of water on the martian surface. What are your thoughts on this?
Welcome Eugene! Glad you could make it today!

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 29 - 09:21:41 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] I read a little about the dust storm - tell us more about it. Also I'm interested in more information about the MarsQuest Exhibit. Where will it be showing?
I assume you mean the dust storm HST saw right before Pathfinder landed (1997). I was filling the Valles Marineris canyon system -- several thousand km long and a few hundred km wide. It had died out within two weeks. Check out the URL below. MarsQuest is still in the developmentphase. There are about a dozen museums across the US interested in hosting it, but the tour schedule probably won't be finalized until late this year.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 30 - 09:23:21 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Are you getting new and surprising data from Mars or aren't you very surprised with the results you get?
Almost every time we've looked at Mars with HST, something new shows up. The cyclone we saw in late April was a real surprise

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 31 - 09:23:25 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] I am just starting to work with Image Processing - what does the acronym FITS stand for? Also, when will the MarsQuest Exhibit be wherever it's going to be?
Chris: There are some good Image Processing lessons on the Quest Mars Team Online site. Let me see if I can find them during the chat... FITS= Flexible Image Transport System.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 33 - 09:25:17 ]
RE: [Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA] Steve, Hi--I've curious about where the martian water went. It seems obvious from the images we are receiving that there were once large volumes of water on the martian surface. What are your thoughts on this?
Quite a bit of water escaped into space since Mars formed. Much of what's left is frozen in the polar ice caps, and possibly as underground permafrost in other places on Mars. There's a very small amount in the atmosphere -- when it freezes, clouds form.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 34 - 09:26:41 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] Any museums in California interested?
Yes -- possibly the Exploratorium and the CA Academy of Sciences.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 36 - 09:30:04 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] I have a crutial question: what is your honest opinion about the "fossile" that NASA scientists detected? I know it's out of your domain, but, anyway, I would like to have your comments about it!
I think the evidence is mounting that the possible "microfossils" announced in 1996 are not actually fossils but are caused by chemical processes. One thing for sure -- this topic has gotten many people looking very hard at the collection of" Mars meteorites".

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 38 - 09:32:46 ]
Chris: The URL for image processing lessons on "Mars Team Online" is: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/teachers/learning.html. Click on "Exploring the Environment..." about half way down.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 41 - 09:35:21 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] As we all know, a lot of spacecrafts are going to the Red Planet in the next years... since the knowledge of this planet is already reasonable, couldn't Hubble focus in other planets, like Venus, Jupiter ou Saturn?
Acually, our observations of Mars with HST wre reduced drastically this year -- we only looked at Mars twice, as opposed to a dozen or so times in previous years. The advantage of HST is that it gives views of Mars similar to a weather satellite -- in lots of wavlengths. It's also auseful "bridge"between the high resolution spacecraft data and the hundred years or more ofobservations from ground-based telescopes. HST does look at most of the other planets. A bit less than 10% of its time is spent looking at Solar System objects.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 42 - 09:39:00 ]
RE: [Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA] Is it possible that some of the lower lying areas that may have contained large volumes of water that could have frozen before sublimination removed it from the surface? And if this is possible, what are the chances that the dust storms could have covered these frozen bodies of water with sand thereby accounting for some of the flat topography that we are observing in the northern hemisphere.
It's possible -- although even at the lowest elevations on Mars, liquid water is not stable (it either freezes or flashes into vapor). The Northern plains look like the ymay have been flooded with lava flows, but certainly in some areas the surface is mantled with thick (meters to tens of meters) dust deposits. If frozenwaterexits there, it's probably deep underground.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 45 - 09:43:05 ]
EVERYONE: THERE ARE 15 MINUTES LEFT IN TODAY'S CHAT WITH STEVE! At the end of today's chat, please let us know how we did! Fill out the SHORT survey at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 46 - 09:43:15 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] and another question: the NGST is coming there...what NGST could do best than HST in this field?
NGST will have much higher spatial resolution than HST, and will probably cover a wider range of wavelengths. But, it probably will not be launched for about 10 years, so HST will be a very valuable observatory until then. One of the things we lack for Mars is a consistent set of observations taken over time -- to help sort out seasonal changes from short-term "weather" and longer term "climate". HST has given us those types of observations since 1990, so really sets the stage for the ongoing observations by spacecraft at Mars.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 47 - 09:45:34 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] I'm an astronomy student (among other things), and it has been a constant discussion about there is or there isn't water bellow the surface...do you think "Total Recall" is really a very science fiction idea, or do you believe it's possible such kind of engineer?
I think "Total Recall"is very much a science fiction story. Such "terraforming" of Mars would certainly take many centuries to accomplish. I hope we'll thoroughly explore Mars to see what it's really like, before we set out to make it more like Earth.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 49 - 09:48:10 ]
RE: [Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA] My reason for asking these questions is if Mars was once more earth-like and may have had standing water around long enough for biological processes to develop would it be possible to find evidence for life in such "frozen oceans".
If such places do exist on Mars, they would certainly be prime spots to took for evidence of ancient life.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 53 - 09:51:22 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] I am just starting to work with Image Processing - what does the acronym FITS stand for? Also, when will the MarsQuest Exhibit be wherever it's going to be?
Chris, FITS files are just a convenient way to transport data around. They have a built in "header" containing a description of the attached data file, which can be made up of any type of data (integers, floating-point numbers, etc.). Once I've done some basic manipulation of the data to convert the images into maps and such, the final steps are most often done using PhotoShop on my Macintosh.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 54 - 09:52:27 ]
RE: [Jim/Florida-Jim] Hello Steve, The cyclone on Mars was to say the lest, very interesting. Who was the person that made the find? And have there been cyclone observed in the past? Do you have an idea on now often then accrue?
Hi Jim, welcome! There are only 10 minutes left in today's chat with Steve Lee. Get your questions in!

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 56 - 09:55:01 ]
RE: [Jim/Florida-Jim] Hello Steve, The cyclone on Mars was to say the lest, very interesting. Who was the person that made the find? And have there been cyclone observed in the past? Do you have an idea on now often then accrue?
Our HST/Mars team is made up of 6 people. Jim Bell at Cornell was the"principal investigator" for these observations, so he was first to see the images. Viking saw a few "spiral storms" in the late 1970's. This new cyclone was 3 times bigger than any seen back then. Mars Global Surveyor has been looking in this area, and has seen a number of "Weather disturbances" in this area, but sofar none were as "organized" as this cyclone.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 57 - 09:56:26 ]

[ Miguel-Miguel/GIRA - 58 - 09:57:13 ]
Well, I believe the time is almost finishing. Good luck for your career Steve! And Sandy: I wait for your e-mail! Hope to see you all soon!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 59 - 09:59:20 ]
Does anyone have anymore questions for Steve???

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 60 - 10:00:37 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Still about HST: do you believe that all the problems taht HST already had, couldn't affect the marge of errors in our calculus? My impression (and the impression of some of my collegues here in the only astronomy course in Portugal) is that HST is somekink of a "nice" guy for the american society and to the scientific community, but aren't you affraid HST will have the future of MIR...I mean, to be out in space until other Space Telescope take its place? Or are we going to have some time without a space telescope in the future?
The plan is for HST to continue operations until after NGST is in orbit. Even then, it will still be a very useful observatory -- time is very precious on any of these orbiting facilities! There are proposals for at least 10 times more observations every year than HST can actually make. Hopefully, the hardware will last until NGST isup and operating. By the way, HST is a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Something like one-third of HST's observations are made by ESA-supported scientists. So, it's really not just an "American facility".

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 61 - 10:01:12 ]
Going once, going twice... If there are no more questions for Steve we'll end the chat and let him get back to looking at storms on Mars!

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 62 - 10:01:16 ]
RE: [Chris-Chris/SFUSD] Thank you for FITS info - I am starting to switch formats in image processing and find it fascinating. MAC forever!
MAC's rule!!

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 63 - 10:01:49 ]
Bye everyone! Thanks for all the good questions!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 64 - 10:02:06 ]
RE: [SteveLee/HubbleMars] MAC's rule!!
I'll third that :-)

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 66 - 10:04:18 ]
RE: [Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA] Steve, are there any arenas that a geologist such as myself working in private industry can participate in some of the planetary studies that are now ongoing or in future missions. Thanks
Anyone can make proposals to NASA to participate in the analyses of data from planetary missions. Send Sany your email, and I'll get in touch offline tofill you in on the details.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 67 - 10:04:48 ]
EVERYONE: TWO THINGS-- 1ST) Be sure to fill out the short chat survey at- http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys and 2nd) The second Mars Millenium chat will be Mon. June 28 at 10 am, PDT. Sign up at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/sso/chats/sched.html

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 68 - 10:04:57 ]
RE: [SteveLee/HubbleMars] Anyone can make proposals to NASA to participate in the analyses of data from planetary missions. Send Sany your email, and I'll get in touch offline tofill you in on the details.
Sorry for the bad typing -- that's "send Sandy your email address ..."

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 69 - 10:05:37 ]
Eugene: My email is- sdueck@quest.arc.nasa.gov

[ Eugene-EugeneRadcliff/TacomaWA - 71 - 10:06:23 ]

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 72 - 10:06:30 ]
Ok, NOW it's time for Steve to get back to work. Goodbye all and thanks so much for Steve for taking the time to chat with us today :-)

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 75 - 10:07:20 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] But even foreign scientists canmake proposals to analyse data from planetary missions?
Yes, they can. Actually, the data are "public domain", so anyone can get access to it. What I'm talking about is proposing for funding to actually support the research.

[ SteveLee/HubbleMars - 78 - 10:12:10 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Ok...I just ask this question because my most profound dream is collaborate in any way with NASA...Well, bye then!
Here's a NASA "Research Opportunities" web site. May be a good place to start" http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/grants/

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 79 - 10:12:25 ]
Krista: I'm sorry to say that today's chat with Steve Lee is over. It began an hour ago :-( However, there will be another Mars chat on Monday June 28 at 10 am, PDT (1 pm. EDT).

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 80 - 10:13:46 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] thank you Sandy for another excellent chat!
You're welcome Miguel. Join us again on June 28 at 10 am PDT for a chat with Rich Rogen, Mission Operations Design Engineer for Mars Surveyor 2001. I'll email you soon..


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