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Transcript by: Speche Communications

>> Hello, welcome to the here today, gone tomorrow webcast.
I'm coming to you from the NASA Ames Research Center please let us know you are here by entering your school name and your location into our chat room.
We are going to have the chat room up and running throughout the duration of the webcast.
Please feel free to submit your questions and we are going to get to as many as we possibly can.
Well, this is the grand finale of your Quest Challenge, culmination of two months of study and design.
We will showcase some of the outstanding designs that you have sent in to us, and we are going to look at the work of our expert panel of NASA scientists with us here today.
We are also going to discuss the many careers that are related to Mars exploration and research, be they in fields like science and engineering or supporting fields like journalism or an astronaut yourself and going to Mars.
Remember that while the members of the panel are able to study aspects of Mars here on Earth, you are the generation that will actually be going to Mars.
And you are starting your preparation for that journey right now.
On the here today, gone tomorrow Quest Challenge page, you are given the resources to learn about the different sites around the globe and given the information you needed to tackle the five concept areas of the challenge.
And we are going to discuss those later on in our broadcast today.
Well, it's time to introduce our NASA experts.
We have with us today once again Bill Clancey and Jen Heldman, and joined by Chris McKay, planetary scientist.
Welcome back, Bill.
Nice to see you again.
You are a computer scientists who does not spend all day at the computer, is that correct?
>> That's right.
S as we saw in the work we did at Lassen, I observe scientists in the field to see what kind of tools we should build and how we can have the facilities and space suits work together so they can accomplish what they want to do.
>> Great.
We'll learn more about your career later on.
And Jen, you are a planetary scientist and we have been following your research at Lassen.
Can you give us more information on what a planetary scientists does?
>> Well, I'm interested in learning about Mars, and so that's why we are doing the work at Lassen, since we can't go to Mars now.
We are using Lassen as an analog, conditions similar to Mars but accessible to us, and use what we learn at Lassen to try and understand Mars better.
>> Great.
Good to hear from you and Chris you are a planetary scientist.
Your work takes you around the globe.
>> Interested in the question of life and how life survives in environments that are like Mars, and like Mars means very dry, or very cold, or both.
So we go to deserts and the regions like Lassen and work with people like Jen and other people to understand what are the limits of life.
>> All right.
Wonderful.
We are excited to learn more about all of your careers and your research as we continue.
Right now we are going to go ahead and dive right into the results of your Quest design challenge.
To refresh your memory on the Mars Analog Questchallenge, it's a place on Earth that shares characteristics to that of a place on Mars.
And we can study that place and learn about the Martian environment and test technologies that we can use when we actually go to Mars.
All the very creative designs you committed to us helped to provide solutions to some of the problems that are posed in the five concept areas.
And those five areas again are habitat, where you are going to live, protection from the environment in terms of clothing and other kinds of outer wear, transportation, assistance, be it human or robotic, and science or instrumentation.
We received more than 60 designs from all of you and all of your classrooms.
All are just outstanding.
And as much as we wish we could comment on every single one of them today, we don't have the time.
So instead we have selected a few the scientists wants to make specific about, those are the ones we will discuss.
I'll hand the microphone over to Bill, he'll start us off with the habitat design.
>> Yes.
Again, each of these were fascinating and fun.
This one is the habitable living on Mars from Mrs. Sarbinski's class.
And they have places for the plants and storage and the kitchen and battery room and things like that.
Also it's made out of metal, which may be it will be iron, not sure which, how they are going to refine the metal on Mars, maybe they would use iron, and that makes an interesting idea.
>> Right.
They really thought about what you need to have in the habitat, as Bill said, and gave a lot of thought to the components each of the aspects so they have spaces for each of the activities, which is good.
>> Okay.
Go on to the next design.
>> Yes.
This is just an interesting illustration from Mr. Pack's class, in the transportation category.
It shows after you do an initial sketch, you, as a professional, especially, would move on to using drawing tools, or a computer program to help you design your system.
This was an interesting nice clean drawing and something that we can use to communicate better now, okay, where is everything going to go, what do we need to include.
>> They also included the pressurized cabin for the work space, which is very important, and they have an unpressurized cabin, the cockpit area, connected with an air lock, so they are understanding the differences between the pressures on Mars and Earth and knowing we need to have pressurized spaces for the humans.
Don't have to have pressurized spaces for just the electronics and gear in the habitat.
>> Great point.
>> Okay.
Looks like the next design is going to tackle the areas of science instrumentation, and assistance.
>> Yes, this is a photograph of a scale model from Kim Parthet's 8th grade class.
It's a kind of recovery.
and it's a kind of rover.
You can't see it but they have a mini rover on a tether that comes out so it can climb down and go into places that the larger rover cannot go.
I thought that was a great idea.
>> That is a great idea.
Also a drilling?
>> Yes, a drilling and the top is a wind, kind of a windmill, and they mentioned getting the wind at night.
It might also be in the afternoons where we have I believe, Chris and Jen isn't that right, the strongest of the dust devils would occur.
Then I was wondering maybe there would be batteries also so we could save the energy we are generating at night.
>> I thought it was good they were using the drill to look for liquid water, very important if we want to look for life but also supporting the humans there, they will need the water.
It's a good resource scouting mission as well.
>> Okay.
And the next design is one that was not actually a part of our concept area, but a very in ventive -- inventive teacher.
>> Yes, they have invented a Mars calendar, and it was interesting because it uses the numeric information we have about the length of a Mars day, call it a soul, and how many souls in the year.
670 souls and 12 months per year, and 10 souls in a week.
And I thought it was interesting solving the very practical problem by using the in -- numeric information they had.
>> That's great.
For the final submission, we not only have a photograph of it, but we also have the model in the Quest.
Or plastic or modeling clay.
There we go.
All right.
So this guy is covering our area of protection.
And he is, his name is Mac, he's a model astronaut, he is a visual aid that goes along with the plan that the students in I believe it was Mr. Pack's class came up with.
So let's see if we can look at some of the features of this guy.
Could you hold the microphone for me?
Thank you.
Okay.
So on the astronaut, we have spikes for his, on the bottoms of his boots to help him, I'm assuming with traction for the Martian soil, he has an antenna that has little wires on it to help channel some of the static electricity through the astronaut and just to dissipate it into the Martian atmosphere.
They also have some features like elbow and knee bearings on his elbows and knees to help him with movement.
And --
>> The use of mylar to protect the body against radiation.
Interesting concept.
>> Yes.
Help protect from any damage to the body.
>> That's right.
Light, and maybe a material like that.
>> Looks like they have taken a lot of different things in consideration and made the plan.
Excellent work.
All right.
And also a visor to protect the eyes.
They really thought of everything in that design.
Good job to everybody who submitted all of their wonderful designs to us.
And please do visit Quest , -- and we have a link that has the designs posted.
You can look at the award-winning design on the web and see everybody else's designs, too.
It's important to take a look at everybody else's designs and see what features they put in.
By kopbl -- combining the ideas together, you can come up with the most successful plans.
That's what the research scientists do here at NASA.
By working together and combining the ideas you can achieve success.
So now I think we are going to move on and take a look at some of Bill's photographs, some of the informational photographs that he took of Jen's research at Lassen.
>> How will we relate the designs to the habitat and the space suit, and think about the work and through the flow of how are things going to go during a day or a week on Mars.
That's really what we were looking at at Lassen.
How do scientists do their work, and we were studying the deployment of the instrument.
So as we go to the first slide there, I thought we would talk about a few things here and really again the big topic is how do you deploy equipment or instrumentation on a planetary surface.
You have to decide how the whole procedures are going to be organized.
People work in teams or parallel, how much time you have, factor that there, and how are you going to organize your materials to transport them and get them on-site and they are available for you.
And then you are going to have to do probably some preparation.
You need to put everything together and test it before you go out and be sure it works, and then might be some surprises and you have to maybe bring some tools so you can adapt to your instruments to the site.
I have a couple photographs.
This is how we do our work, by the photographs are really the data for the study, and now by going back to the photographs that we took when we were there together, we can work with specialists like Jen and Chris and have them reflect on their experience and help us understand more of what was happening at that time.
So on the first photograph.
>> Here we see her in action.
>> Actually an earlier photograph.
Yes.
So Jen, one thing I notice, we have two boxes and did you decide right from the beginning, did you know, when did you know you were going to have to put the equipment in two boxes, why do you have two boxes?
>> Right, yeah.
You would think you could put it in one and save yourself the extra box, but the right-hand side has the electronics in it.
The wiring, batteries and the data logger in there, and so that box is completely sealed from the outside so no liquid water will get in there, everything will stay dry and work.
The box on the left is the box that contains the rain gauge, and so we want water to get in there because what we are trying to do is measure how much snow melt you get.
So we have a pipe that goes into that box and drains water inside of it.
We wanted to keep the electronics completely separate from the rain gauge box.
>> I see.
Did you know how far apart the boxes would be before you went out there so you knew what size cable?
>> We didn't actually know how far apart they would be because it depended on the topography of the area.
We had to put the rain gauge and snow melt mechanism on sort of a little hill that water will run down the hill and into the box to hit the rain gauge.
And then we wanted to put the tripod on a flatter-type area to be more stable to set everything down.
We were limited by the length of the cable.
We got the longest cable we could to connect the rain gauge to the other electronics box.
That was the maximum distance they could be apart.
We needed to find somewhere with a little hill for the snow melt and somewhere near a flat area for the tripod.
>> So you thought it through but you had some equipment that allowed you to be flexible.
>> Exactly.
Didn't know exactly what the parameters would be when we got to the actual field site.
>> Now, here I was interested, you were doing some things on the legs here, and I notice you have some help.
Did you actually do painting before you went to the site?
>> No, actually I had done some painting before by myself because I had painted the boxes, painted those brown, and I painted those here at Ames before we left.
You need to use the cardboard so you don't get the surrounding area covered in spray paint.
The tripod is kind of heavy.
>> Usually she was working alone, she was doing a lot of work with the cableing and the wiring things up.
Was that planned in advance?
>> Jennette spent many hours figuring how to wire the equipment, program it, we knew going into the field she would be the one doing the wiring.
>> So some aspects you knew who was going to do what, and then other things on-site it was more they were available.
>> Right.
Exactly.
>> To help you out.
>> Exactly.
>> I see.
So the next photo, well, here we have an issue about transporting materials.
Looks like without a robot, a man can do a robot's job.
>> Yeah.
>> How do we decide how many men to carry the equipment and how many robots you need on Mars?
>> It depends on a few things.
First, topography.
Those are the arms.
Robots have to be able to traverse steep terrain and avoid rocks, and that sort of thing, and the amount of weight you can carry.
We had to make several trips up and down that slope, one person cannot carry too much and you want them to be safe as well.
Don't want anyone to fall and get hurt.
>> Looks like the two arms on Chris are useful.
>> They are.
>> Maybe we can learn something from watching that.
>> Exactly.
>> That's good.
Well, this is a photo we took the day before, so a warmer day, before we started deploying, and we had been out there in July, and yet here we were in October visiting the site.
Why did we have to go out there the evening before?
>> Right.
We went back out there to do the final site selection.
We went up in July, we were looking to see where are the Regions -- the regions we have the snow, etcetera, etcetera, and in October we had a better idea, we had the equipment with us, knew how big the things were, what we were going to put out, we had better requirements for what the site needed to be.
>> Any surprises, anything you decided that evening that changed things for you?
>> Yeah, we were really constrained by the snow melt gauge, needing to have that on an incline.
That was the driving force.
Tripod could have been placed pretty much anywhere.
We needed a shallow enough slope.
>> Knowing that the night before helped the teams get things ready.
>> Right.
Exactly.
We can go straight the next day to the site and start working.
We needed all the time we had.
>> Going back to a place on Mars, a place that is distant if you are not camped on that site, may be difficult.
Use a robot.
>> Do the reconnaissance for us, right.
>> The next one -- this one, I was really wondering here.
It looked like Clay, one of the graduate students working with you, had already prepared, I believe the drain for the rain gauge.
But he was changing everything when we got out there.
He make a mistake?
>> We just decided to change the design after we actually were at the site.
Because what he's doing, he's putting a hole in the bottom of that bucket, and then attaching a funnel to the bucket to funnel the water down into another pipe.
And he decided we wanted to change the location of the funnel because of the way the rocks were oriented.
Wanted the funnel to be laying in the rocks so it was more stable.
Decided it would be best to move it to a different location to get it to drain properly.
You have to be flexible in the field.
>> There is an issue that you maybe learn that you could have done better, other things are normal that you have to adapt and adjust when you get out there.
>> Right.
>> And bring the tools that will help you make those.
>> Right.
Be prepared to make adjustments on the spot.
I've never done anything in the field where I didn't have to change what I thought I was going to do.
Just a little bit or maybe a lot, depending.
>> Well, we have a few more photographs.
Maybe go through a few of these, and I think this was the back of the van.
>> Yep.
>> All the equipment.
Does that bring back any memories for you?
>> Yep.
We brought a lot of equipment.
Because we had the luxury of having a big government van and we were just driving to our field site, we brought all the equipment we thought we might possibly need.
Once we are in the field, as you saw like Clay had to do last-minute adjustments, we wanted to make sure we had the tools to do everything.
>> You borrow something?
You needed some welding?
>> Yeah, we were welding something and had to go down to the campsite to borrow fire, flame.
>> I would go back over myself the list of things you forgot and make sure I have them on my list.
>> Exactly.
>> Checklist to use next time.
The next image, a, parking lot before we left in the morning.
Seems late to be putting things together.
>> Yeah thrx -- yeah, this is the rain gauge box again.
We were not sure how big we wanted that to be.
And also putting the box together but had to drill a hole in it to put the PVC pipe in to drain the water into.
We didn't know how high the pipe would be, we didn't know the exact slope the pipe would be on.
Once we had gotten to the field, and then you have the measurements and Clay and Chris are putting the box together in the morning before we went back to the field.
>> If I had a pressurized rover that would help you get out there to the site, I need to leave enough space in the rover to have a workbench and a place to make adjustments in the field.
>> Exactly.
The reason we did it in the parking lot, big open space, area to spread out tools, they had to saw things, there was sawdust and did not want to get that in the van or anything, so having the work space was important.
>> Maybe one more.
I think this is you underneath the coat.
>> Yep.
>> What's going on there?
>> This is next to the electronics box, and Jennette had wired up the data loggers and such, so I am checking it out and launching it to make sure it works.
I'm using my laptop.
Because it was so sunny, I could not see the screen.
I had to go underneath my jacket and make it darker so see the computer screen, so I could see what I was doing.
>> Maybe we need to do some more work on designing the screens.
>> Definitely.
>> That's something you would not have known unless you had been using that in the field.
>> Right.
>> Very important to have all the different aspects.
Before we go on, we found out some of you had some trouble connecting.
Don't worry if you missed any of the broadcast, the archive will be up soon and you can watch the entire thing.
Very sorry about your trouble.
Please still feel free to start submitting any questions, and hopefully you can see us now.
Well, I think that we now have some slides of Jen's instrumentation.
We'll take a look at some of those, and she can give us a little bit of an idea of some of the scientific instruments that she has been using.
We have a photograph of that.
Here we go.
Here is, this is the tripod you set up that is now buried in snow, is that correct?
>> Right.
We heard from Steve Zachary, who you met in the last webcast from Lassen, he is in the park still and they have gotten a lot of snow.
All the equipment should be covered in snow right now and collecting data.
So this is just the final tripod that we ended up putting up there, and you can see there's five different arms that are attached to the tripod, those are the arms that Chris was carrying down the hill.
And as we go to the next slide, you can see some of the instrumentation that's labeled on there, you'll be able to see on your computers.
Measuring the air temperature probes, we have several air temperature probes, and measuring the relative humidity.
Also a solar radiation sensor on the top of the arm so we can get that light that's coming in.
Also a longer green probe which is going to measure liquid water, so we can tell when the snow melts and where it melts.
And so we are going to have all this data that is being collected and it's collected in the electronics box on our data logger, and once that snow goes away, once Steve tells us we can go back to the site, we'll go in and download all the data.
>> Okay.
So it will be a surprise for you, too, you don't know what you will get.
>> Right.
>> That must be exciting.
>> That's good.
If you go to the next, go to the last one, skip this one and to the last one, this is our remote digital camera we put up.
We have a camera on a cliff looking down on the field site and so we are taking one of these pictures every day so we should be able to make a movie when we are done and we can see the snow accumulate and go away again.
>> That's exciting.
Will the students who are watching be able to view that?
>> Sure, we'll put that online.
>> Great.
Can you give us a quick refresher?
How is this going to compare to doing research on Mars? Will we set up an instrument like this and collect snow data?
>> Hopefully, depending what we would like to study.
Right now what we would like to know is how does the snow behave on Mars.
And like Chris was talking about, we are looking at the habitability.
We know there is snow algae in Lassen, and they are happy there, and the liquid water comes they flourish and swim up to the top of the snowpack.
We want to understand what are the temperature conditions and how much melt they have to have, and we will model that and test with the data and model that for the Mars case, changing the temperatures and the atmosphere to see if we can have some sort of habitable place where life can exist on Mars in the snow.
>> All right.
That's great.
By doing all of the preparation research here, when we are finally ready to deploy instruments on Mars, we'll know what we are doing.
>> Right.
>> Now I think we will go on and take a look at some of Chris McKay's research.
He is conducting research in the Sahara Desert, is that correct?
>> That's right.
We are doing related to what Jen just said, trying to understand how life survives in places where there is not much liquid water.
The snow in Lassen sounds like a lot of water but it's mostly snow.
Only when there is water in snow that the algae can grow.
In fact, Lassen is a very dry place in the winter, all the snow but no liquid water.
Another very dry place is deserts.
One of the dryest in the world is shown here.
This is the Sahara Desert.
It's just in the corner of Egypt, Libya and Sudan, and one of the dryest places in the world.
We are just beginning to do there.
We are doing a reconnaissance trip to see what kind of life is there.
The next slide shows what algae is there.
There's no snow there, but living underneath the quartz rocks.
It's about the size of somebody's fist if you can imagine that.
The algae life under another the rock, it provides them a little more moisture in the dry environment but still allows to get sunlight.
Next slide shows how we managed to get out there.
We tried to drive a van but got stuck a few times in the desert and had to do pushing.
When we go to Mars, we have to be flexible, too.
One of the great things about human beings, they can get out of the vehicle and push.
And that makes good to have passengers, more passengers the better.
And obviously I'm not pushing since I was taking the photograph.
That's management.
Next slide shows sort of an overview of that area, and it's interesting that in a sense here in the is a at -- Sahara, this mountain, very dry desert, is biologically similar to Lassen.
Even though we think of Lassen full of snow and different, the point of view from the organisms it's the same challenge and it's the challenge of getting water.
If we understand how the organism meet that challenge on Earth, we can understand how they meet that on Mars and where is search when we go there.
>> Those are a couple of the locations we would be searching for life on marps.
In the desert regions, at the polar ice caps.
What other places are we going to on Earth right now try to search for life and to try to study Mars?
>> The desert regions are a good place to search for life on Mars.
Polar regions are analogs for the snow we see on Lassen.
Deep underground also.
We are drilling underground and looking at how life can survive underground, and we want to do that work at Lassen.
Underground at Lassen, there are active volcanoes putting out heat.
And that could be providing the energy source for ecosystems growing underground in Lassen.
That is particularly interesting to us both because of the snow on the surface and its connection to the polar regions on Mars, and volcanic activity underground and the connection to making life possible underground on Mars.
>> Many different types of places we need to explore.
By using some of the observational photographs like the ones that Bill takes, we can apply those to the different Mars analog sites, is that correct?
All right.
And what other kinds of places are you doing your observational research?
>> Well, in Utah we are doing work at the Mars Desert Research Station, and we work at the jet propulsion lab.
>> Great.
Looks like we don't have any questions yet, so let's go ahead and start learning a little bit more about the careers of our experts here.
Keeping in mind that they are lucky enough today to be studying aspects of Mars here on Earth, but you are the generation that will actually get to study Mars and perhaps even go there yourself.
And just in the same way that when you took on our Mars Quest Challenge you divided up into different categories, each to tackle a different five concept for the Mars analog challenge, and you became an expert in that area.
And you were able to take the expert knowledge you had and share it with your classroom.
The same way the science experts here chose a field they were interested in and became experts in that area and are now able to share and combine their knowledge.
Let's find out a little more about what it takes to become a planetary scientist.
Jen, what sort of classes to people take, activities do they engage in?
>> If you like math and science then you are a good candidate for a planetary scientist.
All the sciences are important.
Life sciences, geology, chemistry, whatever you like the best is something that you could fit in.
There's a lot we don't know about the planet.
So anything that you want to contribute is good.
And also math is good.
It's very good to have a good math background.
You can really understand what's going on on these different worlds.
And if you like to explore, go to different places, if you want to do fieldwork and the type of work that we do, that's good.
You can get outside and do that sort of thing.
You can also, if you like to work on computers, you can look at spacecraft data and analyze data coming back from spacecraft we sent to the other planets.
There's a wide range of activities you can do if you want to study plan -- planetary sciences.
>> Take the math and science classes now, you'll have a foundation for it.
>> Right.
>> How about you, Chris?
>> I would echo what Jen said.
Strong background in mathematics is a fundamental preparation for research on Earth and other planets.
Physical sciences is a good supplement to that.
The key thing is being comfortable with math.
If you think of math as a language of science, the same sense that English is the language of our normal life.
If you are good at English and write and speak well, you can communicate well with people.
Good at math, you can grasp and understand scientific concepts as well.
Math is fundamental.
If you want to go to Mars, do research in environments like Mars, study math.
>> All right.
All about the math, apparently.
And oh, looks like we have a question that maybe you could answer, Chris.
Has any living organism been except to a planet to see if it would survive?
>> That's right.
That's a good question.
And it's something that I'm particularly interested in.
Can life from Earth survive on other worlds?
The other worlds, moon and Mars are the example.
We have sent organisms to the moon.
Humans.
>> That would be people.
>> They went there.
But we accidentally sent a bacteria as well, on on the Surveyor spacecraft.
Analysis on Earth showed there was a bacteria in the camera that had hitched a ride to the moon, sat on the moon almost a year and then carried back to Earth.
Amazing thing is it was still alive.
So we have that direct experience with the Apollo program.
In the future we would like to send plants to the moon and Mars and see if they could survive.
If they could, they could be a source of food for astronauts.
>> Chris, the bacteria, was it protected from solar radiation, probably?
We have to protect the plants we send also?
>> That's right.
The biggest hazard for life on the moon or Mars is the solar ultraviolet radiation.
You would get one awful sunburn if you were sitting on the moon or Mars without protection.
Fortunately, even just a piece of glass will protect from the ultraviolet light.
So organisms have to be protected with some sort of shielding.
Organism that came back on the Surveyor camera was inside.
>> Solar flares are something else.
>> They occur very rarely, once every ten years the sun will erupt in a storm, and it sends out a stream of energetic particles that can be dangerous to human, it can cause death in our tissues and cause cancer.
It's not such a problem for plants.
They don't have the same sensitive tissues we have in our intestines that are susceptible to radiation.
Most organisms are resistant more so than humans are.
And if the plants die we can grow some more.
Don't have the same casual attitude for the astronauts.
Solar flares are a big problem.
The astronauts will have some shelter they can go into during a storm.
It lasts for a couple days, maybe a bunker covered in dirt on moon or Mars, and they go into the bunker and play poker for three days.
Or rummy, rather.
>> All right.
>> Another question from Tina.
Where is the best place on Earth to do the fieldwork to practice being on Mars?
We talked about this a little bit.
Is there one place in particular that would be the ultimate?
>> Well, there's no place on Earth that's exactly like Mars.
It's not Mars.
So really depends on what you would like to simulate.
If you want to simulate the extreme cold, might want to go to the polar regions.
Extreme dry, somewhere that is accessible, go to the Mojave Desert here in California.
You can get cold and dry if you go to a polar desert in the Arctic or and the arc at this ca.
>> What about the thin atmosphere, any way to simulate that?
>> Go to high elevations.
There's a group going in south America to the highest lakes in the world, and that way you get more of the U.V. light as well because you are up higher.
>> That's right.
Sort of by combining all the different aspects on Earth we can try and simulate.
>> Yes.
And of course studying how the scientists do the work, the issue of instrument deployment, we can work in different phases so you might go to Utah where it's relatively easy to go, and do some general observation and test out some of the equipment, and later when you feel like you have a good package, everything is working well, maybe you go down to the South Pole and study there.
It's more like a Mars simulation.
>> When we do go to Mars, do we know where we want to land?
Has anything been decided?
>> That's a good question.
Where would we go to Mars.
There are a lot of places interesting and different people want to go to different places.
My guess is when we finally do go, biggest constraint will be to land someplace where the astronauts can be safe and the first mission to Mars will probably be dominated by safety consideration.
Hopefully also be in someplace interesting, but my bet is just about anywhere we land will be interesting for the first landing.
Focussed on being safe.
And after that, we might try a little braver, might land near the polar regions, land deep in the bottom of the canyons, lots of interesting places to go.
>> How much time will the astronauts actually be able to spend doing science once they get out there?
Will a lot of the time being spent trying to stay alive?
Do we know yet?
>> We would like to try and maximize the amount of time to do the science, but there is a lot of upkeep and station keeping and that sort of thing.
These are the things like in scheduling, especially in Bill's studies, when we go to the desert station in Utah or Arctic, and live in the habitats, how much time do you spend doing science work versus maintaining the station and keeping things running?
>> Jen, you did a simulation in the Utah has -- -- oh has bitat.
How much time did you spend?
>> Tried to spend the better part of the afternoons in the day doing science and putting on the space suits and going out in the field and coming back at night and you have to do things like clean the station and cook dinner and just things that you normally have to do to live.
So --
>> Did you want to go out every day?
Is that a requirement?
Or some days you have laboratory work?
>> It was really busy, and I would say going out every day you get really tired.
It's very difficult.
Physically tiring to go out and have the big space suit on, and then you collect the samples and come back to the lab, and you have to do your lab work.
So we stay up really late at night doing the lab work.
I don't think we can continue that for, you know, months and months and months.
>> That's different from how a geologist normally works in terms of writing up reports on the same evening that you come back from the trip.
>> Right.
>> How is it actually normally done if you were not on Mars?
>> On Earth we collect the samples, come back to the labs and spend months looking at, looking in the labs, writing up your reports, having your findings, collaborating with people.
>> Does it make the work better because you spend time reflecting on the data you have collected and that you can change what you do the next day?
Does that help you?
>> I think so.
I think it will be a different sort of system on Mars because the way that we are doing our Mars simulation, we had a science background sort of thing, people back on Earth were looking at the data.
We were the ones in the field collect -- collecting the data, and then we were looking at the scientists.
Because the time in the field was so limited, it may be on Mars as well, we had to maximize the amount of information we had to take back.
Did not think about it as much as you might in a normal type of setting.
>> Some people wonder with that part of the arrangements, the people in the back room, they might have go-getters and fetchers.
>> We need to find a balance.
The people in the field walking around and collecting samples really had a good feeling for what the terrain was like, what the geology of the region was like, where the interesting areas were.
And sometimes we would get direction from the mission support people saying oh, why don't you go to this site today.
And we would say no, no, we know, we have been around there, and it's not as interesting.
We would rather go to this site.
We had a better feel.
Might be different now than the scheduling of events and who has more control over where you go and what do you.
>> Chris, you just completed a trip.
Egypt?
>> Yeah.
>> Did you take written notes every day, is that how you normally work?
>> We kept a log of what we were doing and where we were and where we collected our samples.
I was thinking about that.
We were able to spend a lot, a large amount of our time doing science because in a sense on Earth a lot of things come free.
The air is free, we had a box of dried food to eat from, and a lot of the things on Mars we won't get for free, on Earth we get for free.
If the astronauts had to make their air and grow their own food and take care of all the essentials to survive on Mars, this would take up a lot of their time.
Nice if we could have robots that did that for us and the astronauts could go off and do the scientific exploration that they are so good at.
On Earth we benefit from having those things provided to us from nature.
>> I saw the photograph of you, of the car in the sand made me wonder how much planning you actually made in advance of the route you were going to make, and where you were going to be from day-to-day.
Was that improviseed?
>> We had a detailed plan and we stuck to it.
We knew there were parts where the voyage was going to be hard.
There is a part of the sand that we would cross and you have no choice but to drive up the sand dunes and down, and they are very sandy.
Even the four-wheel drive Jeeps got stuck and would have to get out and everybody would have to push, except me, and I would take pictures.
>> Sounds like you have the best job of everybody there.
More questions from the chat room.
One is how long do you think it will take before the technology is actually available to implement some of these designs that people, that the students have submitted?
One student, Jessica, had artificial gravity and temperature control.
When would technology be good enough to put some of the creative designs into action?
>> I guess I would like to know more about the students and how good they are, and whether they are planning to go into science and engineering.
Because that will give me a sense of how long it's going to take.
If many of them are interested in pursuing the careers, I'll be more hopeful we'll have the technologies.
>> Really only is as fast as the students can learn and start inventing.
All right.
We have another question.
Would the astronauts be able to take personal items with them to Mars?
>> Yeah, it's interesting.
NASA's policy is that the astronauts have an allocation of taking personal items, through Apollo and Gemini.
Each astronaut is allowed to take a small amount of their own discretionary material.
They bring souvenirs they give to their family and things like that.
It will probably be the same on Mars.
Not very much but it's there.
>> That's great.
The astronauts will be gone for a period of up to two years even.
So they are going to want some memories of home.
That makes sense.
Okay.
Try another one.
We have a question from Jessica, how could you play rummy on Mars.
Bring your cards.
>> Use a computer game actually.
>> All right.
>> In the survival kit there is a pack of cards.
So if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, you can play cards.
We have done it.
In Antarctic.
>> Seems like it's a big honor to be selected to go into a Mars simulation habitat.
Can you tell the students maybe how the selection process happened, did you have a big desire, were you chosen?
>> You have to have a big desire to want to do that.
You have to want to go and live in a Mars habitat for two weeks and not have all the comforts of home and not have T.V. and all those things, and work really hard and not get a lot of sleep but it's really, really good because you learn a lot about what it would take to go to Mars.
It's a good way to figure out if it's something you really want to do.
So what you have to do, though, you can't just walk in and do a Mars simulation.
You have to do the prep work beforehand.
So you have to take the math and science classes and you have to understand about the planetary science and doing these types of activities where you are thinking through the Quest Challenge like you are thinking the through the things on Mars so you are prepared for that type of situation.
Then you apply and list all the reasons why you would be a candidate to do this type of simulation.
So the earlier that you start preparing the better.
>> All right.
Great.
Start thinking about these things now and you'll work your way slowly towards your goals.
That's great.
Let's see, we have one more question about the Mars buggy.
How will the Mars buggy need to be different from the moon buggy?
I suppose we can think of things in general as difference between aft nates -- astronauts going to the moon verses Mars.
>> Start with the nature of the land.
Chris showed us the photograph of the sand in the Sahara, there's a lot of sand areas, or sand-like areas on Mars.
And the moon is much more volcanic and rough rocks and boulders and so we have to get over rough areas and perhaps a different way.
>> Also depends on how far you would like to travel.
Because we saw some of the designs that we even showed in the webcast where we had pressurized rovers that the students were designing.
So then you could go perhaps even further and have a laboratory type of structure inside of it.
Moon buggy, they just sat in it and drove around.
They didn't want to go too far away from the home base.
It depends what the function of the buggy would be.
>> What NASA would like to do, build one rover that can work on the moon or on Mars.
Just like you might have a vehicle that you can drive on roads and also drive off the roads.
That, and as Bill pointed out, there are differences between Earth and Mars.
It's going to be a challenge.
But if we can build one space buggy and use it on both planets, both worlds, that will save us a lot of time and money.
We will try and build one vehicle, drive it first on the moon, test it, but also design it so it will work on Mars.
>> When I do something -- it might be something like a trailer that is behind them.
They have a pressurized rover, and then something smaller they can go into the canyon with.
>> That's great, bring the equipment with you and be mobile and travel around.
>> I would like a motorcycle myself.
>> I want an A.T.V.
>> Here we have a question from Joseph.
How much oxygen is there in the Martian atmosphere?
>> Martian atmosphere has a lot of oxygen.
It's that it is tied up with carbon, to form carbon dioxide.
It's not good for humans, we cannot breathe carbon dioxide.
We breathe it out, we breathe in oxygen.
But plants do the opposite.
If we had plants on Mars, a greenhouse that provided food, those plants would take the carbon dioxide from the Mars atmosphere and make oxygen, and then we could breathe out oxygen.
So the oxygen is there, we have to just figure out how to get to it.
>> Great.
What other obstacles would we have that we need to take into consideration for the astronauts going to Mars in terms of the atmosphere or you are talking about dust devils and wind storms.
>> Radiation.
>> Radiation.
>> Gravity.
Don't know quite what the affect of living for a long period of time in a reduced gravity.
We have done microgravity in space station six months.
But you are talking more than six months.
>> Still don't know the long-term affects.
>> Mars' gravity is about a third of Earth.
If you weighed 100 pounds on Earth, you would only weigh 33 pounds on Mars.
So imagine how that would affect your ability to exercise and to move and to walk, and in the long-term, if it affected the way you grow, the growth, that could be a real problem.
>> All right.
We have lots of considerations to make.
Lots of things to find solutions for.
All right.
Well, do we have any other recommendations for maybe websites students could visit?
>> I was going to mention, the question came up about the buggy.
I would encourage the students to look at all the designs and they'll see there are many different alternatives, different classes came up with and for example the design of the wheel, how many legs it has, and that would be a good starting point.
>> All right.
Sounds great.
I think that is a great idea that everybody go and visit that design page.
And see the work of you, obviously up on the web as long as, as well as the work of other students as well.
All right.
Do you have any more questions?
We have a question about how can we get items to Mars? And I think we were talking about this also with the Martian habitat, getting the metal to build the habitat.
Will we be able to transport everything like that or is that too expensive, too heavy?
>> In the long-term there is going to be many interesting possibilities.
The asteroids are relatively close.
And maybe they can mine materials and transport them relatively easily to Mars versus bringing them from Earth.
It's just one idea.
>> Okay.
Sounds like a good solution.
All right.
We have any more questions from our students?
We have a question about suit thickness for the space suits.
How thick should the suits be, and if they're too thick, will the astronauts be able to perform any work?
>> I would like them to be thinner, as opposed to thicker.
When you are wearing the thick suits, very hard to move, they can get very bulky.
It's hard to imagine you are outside hiking in a big, thick space suit up cliffs and down canyons.
And you saw us trying to carry equipment which is hard enough when you have t-shirts and a light jacket on.
But we still need the protection the suit has to offer.
The students can help design new materials that can do that.
>> Right now we don't have any materials that can accomplish that task.
>> It can be improved.
>> Good research, a good topic researching on the Internet seeing the projects NASA has underway for space suits right now.
>> Take a look at the technology at the beginning sdaigs right now.
Those are the ones you can help develop and perhaps even inventing some of your own.
All right.
Well, looks like we have one more question.
Do we have to bring all of the drinking water that we will need to Mars, or will we be able to use some of the snow that's already there?
>> Hopefully we won't have to bring all of it.
As we saw in some of the designs presented here today, we can design missions that will go and scout to see if there is liquid water on Mars that we could use, or snow or ice that we could use.
Because we need water for drinking, for bathing, for cleaning, use it to make rocket fuel, all sorts of uses for the liquid water.
And we think there is abundant amounts of water on Mars so can we harness that, and what sforpl -- form is it in.
>> If we see liquid water, what are the chances there will be life in the water?
>> That's what we are trying to learn through projects like the Lassen work and Chris's work in the deserts and such.
What is the potential to find a habit a -- habitable place on Mars.
>> Thank you very much for your participation, all of your wonderful questions and for joining us today.
And please continue to visit for future challenges.
This event is not just a one-time event.
As we continue on with the exploration to the moon and to Mars and even beyond, we are going to continue developing challenges so you can participate and learn as we learn.
Thank you very much.
And we hope to see you on Mars some day.
Good-bye.

 FirstGov  NASA
Curator: Allison Pasciuto
NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: February 2005
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