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NASA Quest Smart Filters

The NASA Quest Smart Filters play an important role in answering your questions. When we receive a question we send it to one of our volunteer Smart Filters. If they cannot find an answer, the question is then sent to a NASA expert who has volunteered to answer questions for NASA Quest Q&A. As Smart Filters, it is our job to keep questions that can be answered by searching the NASA Quest Q&A Archives or the internet, from reaching our NASA experts.

Meet our Smart Filters

Yohan Ferreira
Jennifer Lafleur
Joy Ritchie
Jorge Brown Segui
Jonathan Shaw
Bruce Thompson
Karen Young

Meet: Jennifer Lafleur

Who I Am
My name is Jennifer Lafleur, but some people like to call me Smurf or Space Canada. Well, I guess I already gave it away, but I live in Canada - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to be precise.

What I Do
I am a recent graduate of the Engineering Design and Drafting Technology programme at a local college. With this, I have found a job doing just that, drafting and design, for Proclad Enterprises. Nothing too spacey yet, but someday I hope to be doing some design work for a major space corporation like Lockheed Martin, MD
Robotics, or Boeing. In addition to my "real job", on the weekends I work as a swimming instructor at the local aquatics facility. It is great fun!

Some Personal Stuff
As far as personal history, my life isn't too interesting: I was born in Canada, lived in Canada my whole life, and probably will never move out of Canada – I love it here too much! Although I have never moved anywhere outside of Canada, I love to
travel! World cultures and traditions fascinate me. I love to learn, and travelling is one of the best ways to learn about people, cultures, and traditions; books just cannot give you the experiences that travel can.

I love photography too, although I am not so good at it – yet! Practice makes perfect, and at every opportunity I get I am taking photos. Learning something new is always fun.

On the spacey end of things, I try to do anything and everything I
can to be involved in the space programme. This is how I came across NASA Quest. I used to be someone who asked a million questions, and then one day they gave me the opportunity to start answering questions – now I'm here to stay!

Another space related portion of my life would be my two trips to the U. S. Space Camp's Advanced Space Academy programme. Two weeks I will never forget – the programme there is absolutely fantastic! I would encourage everyone (youth and adult) with a serious interest in space to attend one of their programmes. (They even have scholarships available if you cannot afford the tuition.)

Meet: Réagan-Lorraine

What I Do
I am French (southern French) and I am a professeur of business and computers, and a doctoral student. I lecture and speak about space related subjects such as spinoffs, international space programme, French space programme and microgravity and disability.

En français:
Je suis française (du sud de la France) et je suis professeure mi temps d'affaire et du marketing et des applications du logiciel et informatique. En plus, je suis étudiante doctorat et je fais les conferences sur les sujets de l'espace et les tranfers de la technoligie, les programmes de l'espace internationale, le programme de l'espace française et les sujets de la microgravité et les personnes handicapées.

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Meet: Joy Ritchie

Photo of Joy Ritchie  on Mars

NASA Quest Q&A Lead
NASA Ames Research Center

What I Do
My name is Joy Ritchie and I am the NASA Quest Q&A Lead (a.k.a. the question sorter-outer). I'm the one who receives the emails you send and then I find the best person to answer it. The fact that NASA Quest has such wonderful volunteer Smart Filters and NASA experts makes my job tons of fun!

Some personal stuff:
One reason I enjoy my job so much is because I enjoy learning. We answer questions on so many topics that I learn something new nearly every day! From aerospace to astronomy, mathematics to orbiter parts, I find it all very interesting.

My husband and I have 3 wonderful children, 1 equally wonderful daughter-in-law and 2 beautiful grandchildren. I enjoy spinning wool and knitting (and watching "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" as often as my family will allow). Though most of my television leans towards the educational channels, I do enjoy watching a good game of rugby when I get the chance!

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Meet: Jorge Brown Segui

Photo of Jorge Brown Segui

What I Do
My name is Jorge Brown Segui. I am a Mining Engineer, a blasting expert doing a PhD in rock recognition using MWD - Measurement While Drilling. MWD is a technique derived from the oil industry and recently being applied to the mining industry.

Who I Am
I live in Brisbane, Australia, South of the Great Barrier Reef.

My passion has been astronomy since my childhood. I have other hobbies as well. I have a drive for any kind of machine: airplanes (I am a pilot), hang gliders, and anything that is able to fly. But not only flying things have some spell on me. I love to drive cars, sail boats anything that you can control and try your finesse.

I love to dive at the Great Barrier Reef. Reading is another very important thing in my life. I have been in so many different places just by reading books that it seems I have already lived many different lives. I cannot think on living an interesting life without reading.

What else?
I love cooking!
OK, it's enough.

I was born in the southernmost state of Brazil. We are a sort of Brazilian cowboys. This peculiar character is shared with our neighbours from South - Uruguay and West - Argentina.

If I could summarize my psychological profile in one word it would be ADVENTURE!

So, let me say that the space exploration is the ultimate adventure, that there is nothing more exciting than learning about new worlds, others stars, super novas and the wonders of the universe!

My blood was made up in the core of an ancient super nova that exploded billions of years ago. The ashes of it contaminated our Solar system and now all this stuff is so well organized that it is writing a brief CV!

I am all these things put together in an wonderful way beyond any reasonable description.

My little advice?

Learn about yourself, about your heart, about your real being, about your limitations so you can overcome them. Be yourself. But before being yourself you must learn who you are. How to learn it?

This is the challenge. This is the adventure!

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Meet: Bruce Thompson

photo of Bruce Thompson

NASA Quest Smart Filter
Oamaru, New Zealand

My Journals

Who I Am
My name is Bruce Thompson and I live in Oamaru, in the South Island of New Zealand.

What I Do
I am a member of the Whakatane Astronomical Society, in the North Island, and a member and past President of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. I currently write a newspaper astronomy and space flight column, and edit the newsletter of the Whakatane Astronomical Society. I also work part-time as a vehicle inspector for the New Zealand Automobile Association.

Some personal stuff:
I have been an astronomy and space flight enthusiast for most of my life. I believe it began at age 10, when I spent every night of a week looking at the Moon through a borrowed telescope, then, a year later, saw Sputnik 2 passing through the Southern Cross.

I was born in Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, and lived near there on the family farm until age 14, when my family moved to Dunedin, in the South Island. After leaving high school three years later, I took a job as an apprentice motor mechanic and, in January 1968, was drafted into the army under the National Service programme, where I developed a serious case of wanderlust. Our jungle training area in the foothills of the Southern Alps was right under the flight path from Christchurch to Australia, and I used to lie in my bivouac at nights and watch the lights of aircraft flying out to the world. That was when I heard the call of the wild goose and when the army had finished with me, I flew out too. In New Zealand, we call that "Doing the Big OE" - OE meaning "overseas experience" - and we all try to do it at least once.

I came back to New Zealand several years later and went into business in Whakatane. I also went into the serious business of raising a family, but that's another story...

In May, 1961, when Alan Shepard flew into space, I made myself a promise to one day visit the Kennedy Space Center, or Cape Canaveral, as it was in those days. In July, 1998, I was finally able to keep that promise. The KSC is the greatest show on Earth, and my partner, Cathy, and I decided that one visit is not enough. We're going back! In fact, as I write this, we have booked our airfares to watch the launch of the second Mars Exploration Rover on June 25, 2003.

In early 1999, with my daughters having grown up and left home - two of them are now doing their own "Big OE", with the third planning hers - I sold my businesses and moved to Oamaru and semi-retirement. Cathy and I share our home with a Celestron telescope and with an elderly cat, who has lived with me from the night she was born on my daughter's bed. We have also taken in my eldest daughter's cat, until she returns from her OE - whenever that will be. Many of us stay away for years, and some never return.

The Internet has given me the means to expand my hobbies and interests, and do what little I can to help others who share my fascination for this universe we live in. I will never go into space, but I know that some of the young people who send me questions one day will.

I'll settle for that.

"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives, but I'd rather believe that time is a companion, who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived." ~ Jean-Luc Picard

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Meet: Karen Young

Karen Young photo

NASA Quest Smart Filter
Southern California

Who I Am
My background is in astronomy; I earned my bachelor's degree in Astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1973 and my master's degree in Physics and Astronomy from Brigham Young University in 1976. Besides my interest in astronomy, I am also a licensed amateur radio operator and am very interested in languages. I studied Spanish and Russian in school, and know a little French, and a little less German. I also enjoy hiking and backpacking.

What I Do
I am a high school teacher, currently teaching Earth and Space Science and Algebra. I live in the mountains of Southern California, but teach at a school in the Mojave desert.

Some personal stuff:
I enjoyed school because I have always loved learning about everything, but like most people, I dreaded the tests! In high school I studied hard because I wanted to go to a good university. In college I studied hard just to survive! College is a great place where you can learn all kinds of exciting things, but it is very competitive and the better study habits you develop in high school the better you will do in college.

I am married and we have four children, all grown and living in California, Washington, Colorado, and Ohio. We also have nine grandchildren who are our special delight!

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If you have questions regarding the NASA Quest website, please email us at mailto:info@quest.nasa.gov

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