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Welcome to the Web Cast from Zzyzx, California.
March 28, 2007 a las 9:00 a.m. PDT,

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Sorry, due to the connection from the Mojave, some of this transcript is missing.

>> The theme of this event is astrobiology because it's interdisciplinary and inclusive.
I think that's one of the things that has been able to open us up and have -- please stand by.
Audio problems being encountered.
>> Also looking at surface features like rock formations in the field.
It's a big spectrum of work we're doing.
[Inaudible] -- giving off from cave mouths.
That's the spectrum of what we're doing.
>> What are some of your thoughts?
You've been involved with all three Spaceward Bound! programs and how it's going to work.
What have you seen as far as the interactions between the teachers and the scientists?
Maybe a funny story or some funny -- [inaudible] >> New experiences outside of their normal realm of dealing with things in the classroom and how adventurous they are.
Because, really, what underlies all of my interests in science really is kind of the spirit of exploration and adventure.
I find it very heartening and -- inautomobile
[Inaudible] >> I've heard several teachers talking about, since we've been here, is that enthusiasm.
As teachers in the classroom, I know we don't forget but sometimes we need to be reminded of how important our enthusiasm is because we tried to do that day in and day out and it's hard because it takes a lot of energy to be that enthusiastic but it's so important.
If we were here experiencing this and you -- [inaudible] -- again how important that enthusiasm is.
Thank you very much.
>> Our pleasure.
>> At this point we're going to bring some of the teachers on the set and get a chance to talk to them and hear a few of their stories.
Hopefully they'll have some comical stories as well to add into the mix.
>> Okay, Matt.
I see that the person you're going to start with is going to take a little loadup time.
[Inaudible] >> We have lots of good questions in there already.
Please make sure you ask your questions early because when we close down, the questions are gone so please get them into the chatroom and we'll try to answer them if we can.
Thanks, Matt.
>> Thanks, Linda.
Okay our first teacher is Luther Richardson and Luther, if you can tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
[Inaudible] A little bit about it and some of your ideas on how you might be able to bring this back into the classroom and do some activities with your students.
>> Sure.
This is my friend here and I have some specifics I'll mention with that in terms of picking something favorite.
So many things have happened out here it will take a while to get it together but many things will come back to the classroom.
From -- [inaudible] I have an idea.
We're also going to caves later on so we'll take a trip there.
With the robot specifically this robot and another one that we have here is capable of doing essentially a road sensing.
Imagine you go to Mars, there are some challenging places to go.
You might not want to be the first one to go there.
So these robots are perfect candidates to do that sort of thing and so -- [inaudible] Pop up on the computer screen and really be able to do those kind of investigations.
Taking back to the classrooms.
We'll try to integrate some sensors into this where it can send information back to and simulate the kind of things we want to do on Mars.
I hope that the students I have will be able to walk into a job -- [inaudible] >> Great, thank you, Luther.
I appreciate you joining us today.
We'd like to next bring on the set robin SALONICH.
That's quite a robot.
Hi, how are you today?
>> I'm doing good.
How are you doing?
>> Real good.
Thanks for joining us.
[Inaudible] >> It started a chain reaction of stuffed animals.
>> This is my counterpart's classroom mascot Mr. tiger.
>> Is there anything you are planning on Mr. tiger when you go hope or photo ops that you're doing?
>> There are photo ops we'll be using with Mr. tiger.
We plan on taking him to some of the lava flows later on.
We went -- [inaudible] >> We stood on a lava flow that was 500,000 years old and to our right was another lava flow that was 300,000 and to the left 175,000 years old.
The geological features were amaingz.
As far as the classroom when we were doing a rock sampling, she went through step-by-step and showed us how she did some -- [inaudible] -- we've begun science notebooking so this will be definitely an important factor to bring back to show them that yes, what you're doing in the classroom is relative and scientists do do this and it actually does happen in the real world.
>> Very good.
What are some of your experiences with the scientists?
What has been that like from a teacher perspective?
>> From a teacher perspective it's been an awesome open door.
[Inaudible] >> Open to some of our questions and helpful.
>> All right, great.
Thank you for being with us today.
>> Thank you.
>> I would like to next bring on Mike MARCIONDO.
We have had great stories going around from lots of teachers that we wish we had more time to share with you but hopefully as we have our teacher presenters come up -- [inaudible] >> Okay.
Greetings from Zzyzx and good afternoon to my family and friends and students back home.
I teach integrated science 7th grade in Pennsylvania.
I want you to know your tanning was much more successful than our tanning here in the Mojave yesterday.
[Inaudible] >> Is there anything you're planning to bring back to your students when you go home?
>> I've been fortunate as part of a research team.
Finding life in extreme environments.
Where is it, what is it and why is it there and part of a research team of where is it?
One of the areas of main interest is lava tubes and lava caves.
[Inaudible] Collapsed areas of lava tube that access into the tube.
They show up temperature gradients in a pixel form and then we do the ground work first and then we follow that up with verification from hot air balloon.
I've been part of the balloon crew here.
My prop is my gloves.
You have to have the gloves all the time for both -- [inaudible] >> Of course, with the temperatures being a little chilly today being involved with a balloon wasn't bad.
It may not be a place where you're sweating today.
That ought to be a nice thing.
Thank you, Mike, appreciate you joining us today.
We'd like to next bring on Linda Hoover.
[Inaudible] >> The area and I teach at a middle school and I teach math and science.
>> Okay.
Tell us a little bit about what you've been seeing and experiencing?
>> I'm part of the cave and ballooning crew also.
I'm excited about that.
I'm hoping to bring my actual classes out to the area and do some of the same caving and experience some of the things we've been doing when we've been here and -- [inaudible] >> Your time getting to interact with them as well?
>> I felt that the teachers were welcomed farmly and we were pulled in like family with them and as we are taken into the field we're taught and treated like we're one of them and that's wonderful.
I think to hear that from us as teachers that scientists are people and they are like family.
[Inaudible] >> Good morning, Matt.
>> Good morning, Jim.
Thanks for being on with us today.
Tell the audience a little bit about yourself, where you're from and what you teach?
>> I'm Jim cool, I teach middle school 6th grade Earth science at central square middle school to the yellow house.
>> And what are some -- [inaudible] >> Kind of felt like that especially when I heard I was settling in Sunday afternoon and I heard the distinctive blast of a blast valve for the hot air balloon and I knew this is a place -- my students know that I'm really interested in both geology and hot air balloons.
I've been doing that all week, out with the balloon team.
[Inaudible] >> Fascinating and just great for me.
>> What's neat, too, Jim your situation is almost the reverse of what some teachers are doing.
Most of us are getting ideas of what new to bring back to the classroom.
You're getting ideas on how to improve what you've been doing.
You shared with me early on even before we came here that you start off your year with a hot air balloon activity to -- [inaudible] >> Validates what we're doing and we're going to be doing another flight in early May with our balloons.
We've packed them up for the winter.
Bad weather for the winter but we'll be getting them out and trying some of the things that they're trying here.
>> Great.
I've really enjoyed watching your enthusiasm around the balloon and I know you'll be able to take it back to your students.
Thank you for being here, Jim.
>> I have a -- [inaudible] >> I got a lot of photos, too.
I did want to tell RACHELLE her research was really good.
It appears she was correct there are no venomous lizards in the Mojave.
>> Thanks, Jim.
Next I would like to welcome on the set Evan Justin.
Hello, Evan.
>> I work in Washington
I like to tell people I live in the bottom of PUGET sound.
>> Can you tell us -- I know you've been excited about some things you've seen since day one and you've been sharing some of the things that you're hoping to do with your students.
[Inaudible] >> -- in college.
Anybody begins to feel like a time traveler looking at data that is 20,000, 50,000, 2 billion years old.
I feel like I'm walking on STRATA.
I can go over to us is what a dry, desolate landscape and see, now that I have discovered -- [Inaudible] >> The far west end of what you guys did.
The continuity of our work as a program and the planets that share our Sun, this is a large commune experience for me.
I've got this great idea from Jim that I can get a whole bunch of literally -- [inaudible] >> To classrooms all over the place looking for anomalies and interests.
>> Evan has a nice blog that he's set up for his students and he's been working really hard at getting the word out.
We appreciate all that the teachers are doing for the program.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you, Evan.
Appreciate you joining us today.
We'd like to next bring on sandy -- [inaudible] Tell us about yourself and where you're from.
>> Sandy RISBERG.
I'm a science teacher here in the high desert.
This is my first year here.
When I moved here I wanted to learn the geology about this area and learn about the desert environment.
And this opportunity has just been beyond my -- [inaudible] -- firsthand the changing Earth.
How organisms can live in this environment and the word we learned was analog.
The analogs on the Moon and Mars, my first vocabulary word this week.
Just a great opportunity right in our backyard.
>> You know, it's so amazing when you talk about extreme environments.
[Inaudible] >> To adapt and switch to the environment but the same token humans are very similar in that respect, maybe we can't quite live in those extremes or not yet.
A very interesting note.
All the things that you've been seeing while you're here, the ideas you have bringing back you have a huge advantage and I know several peoples are from the surrounding area, Las Vegas and they have the desert in their backyard.
I'm from a -- [inaudible] >> Two weeks from now we have a volcanic mountain right literally a quarter mile from campus right walking distance and I already have a field trip planned, a walking field trip.
To be able to talk about -- [inaudible]
[captioner is experiencing poor audio]
[The audio keeps cutting in and out]
>> About the geology -- [inaudible] >> Some of the things that you've seen here.
>> I think every aspect of what I'm doing here is applicable to my classroom because one of my classes is like actually what I call astronaut training 101.
Since my students are the ones going to the Moon and Mars , I think ss our future astronauts and explorers learn how to take the soil samples and they need to learn what to look -- [inaudible] >> Getting ideas.
Can you tell us a little bit about something that you plan on taking back from this experience?
>> Well, I got an opportunity to work with the robots yesterday morning.
And I was really examining them very closely and noticed that they didn't look that difficult to build.
We already have a robotics program at our school where the kids build -- [inaudible] >> How is your -- what has your experience been here as far as the station?
What have you enjoyed?
What has been fun here?
>> The challenge of doing the science in these conditions.
I mean, yesterday it was windy and I'm told by another teacher that the winds were like 50 to 60 miles-per-hour so it really felt like -- I felt like a hard-core -- [inaudible] >> We actually got the problem solved.
That was kind of fun also.
>> I can definitely relate to the flat tire incidents.
We had a few of those.
We weren't as close to a gas station.
You guys were able to fix that in a timely fashion and still a mystery behind why the tire went flat.
I guess that's Mojave ghost taking over there.
Thank you for being with us today.
[Inaudible] >> Thanks, sweetie.
I think the main difference has been we're around more teachers.
There are new scientists.
It has been a great reunion having an opportunity to come back and be among who I consider friends that we spent a lot of time with and went through some struggles in a Atacama with flat tires and -- [inaudible] some different perspectives how to bring it back to the classroom and an opportunity for me to share some of the things I've learned and pass that onto the teachers.
I know the first day that we were out on the transect and I took the opportunity to show some of the teachers to use GPS because they had never learned and I had never learned.
In the Atacama I had a little introduction to that so it's been nice -- [inaudible] >> Come on over.
Come on over.
>> Front and center and if you want to field the questions to someone else that's great, too.
All right.
First question, what natural resources are there?
>> Wow, lots of dirt, rocks, lots of wind.
We actually have a -- [inaudible] >> White minerals on it.
It has been very, very fascinating.
Of course, my fascination has been with the volcano.
I have lots of pictures to share since we'll be doing that when I get back to school.
>> Moving along.
Of course, if you haven't been directly involved in any of these things you maybe will pass it to someone who has.
[Inaudible] >> Cold and windy.
A teacher on her blog site has a picture of me huddled in front of the car radiator with my hoody and hat on so it was just really cold.
Didn't see much heat radiation yesterday.
It has been really interesting, though, to -- [inaudible] >> It was a dry lake bed so yes, lots of infrared photograph re going on especially with the hot air balloons that we just did last Friday.
This one goes up a lot higher than ours did.
They are actually using the thermography to search for the openings to lava tubes.
We'll talk about that when I get back.
>> Great.
[Inaudible] >> Would anyone else like to add to this?
Go ahead.
>> Just a quick one.
Last night in the science meeting we found out apparently old hat that old weather conditions involving wind distribution on landforms has a lot to do with microdensity in the Atacama and we don't know yet whether or not it's a -- [inaudible] >> We have a question here for robin from Irene in Florida.
>> That's my aunt.
>> Okay.
Does it truly feel like another planet in your location when you're suited up and doing your experiments?
And how are you adapting to that?
[Inaudible] >> And have you seen anything meteor?
>> I can answer that.
I actually was out at 4:00 this morning making a run.
Was the first time I had gotten to see the sky and the stars.
It was just phenomenal.
The stars are extremely bright and they're beautiful and Cheryl Lynn will give me an astronomy lesson later.
[Inaudible] >> Kind of habitat and environment is there for the animals?
>> Mostly under rocks.
As we've been out in the field, big holes in the ground and they're everywhere.
So you look at the holes and go, I wonder what's in that hole?
You try to sidestep but then you're next to another hole on the opposite side.
We did see -- [inaudible] >> Virginia and I noticed that yesterday everyone was wearing heavy coats and I was taking my shirt off so it ranges.
It's been very windy, even driving we noticed a horse trailer was having a hard time so -- it's very different from back home.
[Inaudible] >> He's coming.
He's coming.
>> In the meantime.
>> While Dan is running in on the weather note.
Yesterday Kobe and I had a chance to go out with penny and Mike and Ted and do caving expedition.
It was very cold and windy.
We went up to 7,000 feet and went into a cave -- [inaudible] >> It makes it very, very extreme.
>> Which is why we're all wearing coats.
>> It's really cold.
It's hot and dry in a cold way.
>> It -- the type of creatures that live out here have to deal with very, very high -- [inaudible] >> At the end as we get ready to sign off that might be -- we're kind of covered in here to protect ourselves so it might be--
>> A lot of sand.
We're looking out over a lake that has no water in it.
It's just flat and it's very, very dry.
And a lot of salt and stuff like that.
Creating a very harsh environment.
[Inaudible] >> There I was sitting in that lead van and the decision was made by Chris and a number of others that we'll send this van, the one I was sitting in, across and if that van can make it, we can all make it.
And next thing I know there are people flocking out of the van and I should have probably -- [inaudible] >> As it turns out in that stream that was about knee deep all around, there were two rocks and we're guessing we must have hit one of those two rocks in such a way that it made the tire indent in enough to allow the air to escape and then, of course, we had to change the tire.
It was a rental.
We had to find the spare because it -- [inaudible] >> It always becomes a great story later.
That's the best part.
It is good to have the problems come up as long as you're able to get back for dinner, right?
>> Exactly.
>> Again originally we thought the only way to get there was to cross the river.
It wasn't until they saw us with a flat on the other side and decided nobody else wanted to try it.
[Inaudible] >> What new things about Mars have you discovered?
That's a good one to pass around a little, I think.
>> Yeah.
My fascination, because I was in Chile, we didn't really talk about lava -- [inaudible] >> Living inside those lava tubes has just fascinated me this trip.
Anyone else?
[Inaudible] >> Fantastic place to do research.
>> All right.
Additionally some of the theory of the lava tubes potentially could be used for human habitation once we get humans on Mars.
An enclosed environment, can be sealed off.
[Inaudible] >> Protection.
>> I found out how hard it was the drive the Mars rover when you couldn't look at it.
You had to do it through the computer and not run into people, although you wouldn't really have that problem on Mars.
But running into rocks and things and then making repairs.
Because you aren't there.
So that -- [inaudible] >> In the Mojave as you go deeper into the Earth from the surface of -- [inaudible] >> Of the surface environments to the lava tubes and other caves.
They aren't necessarily the same organisms but they serve the same ecological functions.
So one of the things we're studying is who are the guys who are living on the surface.
That's what we're finding out so far.
>> Isn't it different because the soil on the top is older?
Isn't it different because the soil on the top is older than the soil underneath which is strange?
>> There are a lot of complexities here, one of the issues is -- [inaudible] .
>> Remain active or at least viable -- [inaudible].
>> Adaptation patterns to radiation related to depth of the things in the Earth.
>> A most excellent question.
[Inaudible] >> Related organisms on the surface to see if the ones in caves have actually -- [inaudible] .
>> Can you hang around for that webcast with us?
>> Sure.
>> Which gives me a good time to put in an ad.
At 11:00 our time here there will be a webcast in Spanish and some of our Spanish-speaking teachers are going to be on it, as well as -- [inaudible] .
Matt, wrap it up here and maybe we can do a pan so you can wave and your loved ones and classrooms.
>> I want to say thank you to our audience for the great questions and staying with us for the hour.
On behalf of the teachers, I just -- [inaudible].
>> Share stories of -- [inaudible] .
>> Collaboration effort on going to the Moon and Mars down the road.
Thank you so much for all the opportunities and I know the teachers are all very grateful.
To our viewers, as we sign off we want to say thank you again and we invite you to join us in our audience in the future as future space robotics -- [inaudible].

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Curator: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
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