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Shuttle/Mir Banner

S/MORE WebChat

Date: December 4, 1996

Featuring: Karen Borski
Mission Science Support Engineer
Johnson Space Center


Andrea/NASA/ChatHost: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 9:54AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Welcome! First a quick introduction: Karen Borski works as a mission science support engineer at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Most of the work she does involves archiving science experiments in a computer database called the Life Sciences Data Archive. An archive is a collection of information in a specific area. The archive she works on will provide information about NASA's life sciences research so that others, especially researchers, teachers and students, will have easy access to it using the Internet. Her work on this project includes learning about all of the science experiments in the current NASA/Mir joint space program, learning about past missions and and working with computers to record all this information

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 9:59AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hello. This is Karen Borski at the Johnson Space Center. I'm online now.

Gloria/Californa: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 9:59AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Can we get anything from the archive about plant experiments? We've been participating in the SMORE Great Plant Debate.

Andrea/NASA/ChatHost: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:00AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Greetings all! Looks like we are off and running.

Gloria/Californa: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:01AM PDT (-0800 GMT) The other question, we've been talking a lot about the Russians, does your archive have anything about the Russians, or their experiments in it?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:01AM PDT (-0800 GMT) The archive has plans to include plant research, but at the moment what we have is limited to human and animal research.

Neil/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:04AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hello, I have a group of students here in Macon, Ga that have some questions for you Karen!

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:04AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Great questions! Currently the archive is limited to containing detailed information for only US research. However, there is some information on the joint US- Russian Cosmos Biosattelite Program. This is an unmanned research program, which sends experiments into space on sattellites and unmanned vehicles. The archive contains descriptions of this program and some of those experiments. There is also information on the joint US-Russian NASA Mir program on other sites, like the http://shuttle-mir.nasa.gov site.

Antwan/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:06AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Karen, would you ever like to fly in space?

Gloria/Californa: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:07AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Its not in your archive, but have you heard from any of the people down there at Houston, how the wheat is doing?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:08AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Antwan, I would love to have the chance to fly into space. I think it would be scary, but I think I'd go if I had the chance.

Kacie/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:09AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Karen. can you speak Russian or do you have to know Russian for your job?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:12AM PDT (-0800 GMT) The last that I heard, which was when Shannon Lucid returned to Earth in September, the wheat was doing pretty good. It was growing well for the most part, but there were some brown and yellow spots in places - does anyone know what might cause this? These are some of the questions that the researchers will be studying.

Kacie/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:14AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Could it be the artificial oxygen atmosphere in MIR that cause the spots?

Aisha/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:17AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you think that children will have a role in the space program anytime?

Gloria/California: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:21AM PDT (-0800 GMT) We think it has to do with the light, that caused the brown spots

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:22AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Aisha, I think children have a role in the space program right now - maybe not in a direct way. But, the knowledge that you gain today in your classrooms will be the building blocks for the space research and exploration of the future - when you all grow up! Keep studying and asking all the wonderful questions! Soon than you think, you could be working on these very topics!

Jon/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:23AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Are the plants only getting artificial light?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I'm not sure if my last couple of answers ever got posted. I was discussing the spots on the wheat. Yes, I think that both the air, light and perhaps even the nutrients in the soil or the water, could all be affecting the plants.

Ashlee/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:24AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Would you like to be an astronaut?

Kevin/ParkSchool: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:27AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What kind of computer training do you need to do your job?

John David/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:28AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you like computer games and if so what is your favorite one?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:29AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I would like to be an astronaut. There is a lot of hard work and dedication required. Most astronauts have at least two different college degrees. I have only one so far. Maybe one day I'll return to college and continue my education. Then, I'd be more qualified for the job of astronaut!

anonymous: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:33AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Hi anyone out there? just hooked up to the net

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:33AM PDT (-0800 GMT) For my job, I need to know how to develop, design and work in databases. I also need to be familiar with word processors, spreadsheets and internet technologies. I don't do much programming, but my background education in basic programming does help me understand more of the computer work I do. I like computer games, but just don't have a lot of time to play them. So, I really don't have a favorite one right now.

Neil/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:35AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I read in your bio that you help develop Web sites for NASA. Do you use HTML only or do you use other software to help create these pages?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:35AM PDT (-0800 GMT) The wheat plants are growing in a miniature greenhouse on the Mir station. Inside of it, they get only artificial light.

Kevin/ParkSchool: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:37AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What do you think is the most interesting animal experiment in the archive?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:38AM PDT (-0800 GMT) For the Internet pages, we use the HTML programming language. Sometimes, we use other software to help make HTML programming easier.

Ruth/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:40AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you ever get a vacation and if so where would you go?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:40AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Kevin, Tough question. I think all the experiments are interesting. But I really found the experiment that studied the development and behavior of fish to be especially interesting. It was flown on the Spacelab-Japan mission several years ago.

Laura/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:41AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you ever get tired of your job?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:42AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Ruth, YES, I do get away on vacations every once in awhile, but it never seems like enough! I like travelling to pretty cities and natural areas, especially around the mountains. I'd like to visit all the national parks one day!

Kevin/ParkSchool: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:42AM PDT (-0800 GMT) What did they learn about the fish?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:45AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Sometimes I get tired of working on one particular project, especially if it is difficult or long. But that is pretty rare. I haven't gotten tired of my job yet. It's very interesting and allows me to do a lot of different things - work on different projects, travel a bit, and meet a lot of great people in the space program.

Connie/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:45AM PDT (-0800 GMT) If you ever left your job at NASA what would you like to do?

Mark/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:47AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you know who Bill Nye the Science Guy is and if so do you like him?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:49AM PDT (-0800 GMT) To find out exactly what they learned about the fish, you should visit the archive or your local library. The experiment was called "Mating Behavior of the Fish Medaka and Development of their Eggs in Space." The Principal Investigator who published articles on this experiment is Kenichi Ijiri. Also, this type of information will be available on the Internet in the archive in the future.

Kevin/ParkSchool: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Have you met any astronauts from the Apollo program?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:51AM PDT (-0800 GMT) If I ever decided to leave my job at NASA, I would probably like to return to college to study a more specific field of biology or engineering. I would probably try to get a Master's or Doctorate degree so that I could teach or perform research.

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:53AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Yes, I know who Bill Nye the Science Guy is. I think he's great. I was lucky enough to see him speak in person at a Science convention for Teachers which I attended to work at a NASA booth.

Andrea/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:54AM PDT (-0800 GMT) If you would like to teach, would you attempt to teach 5th grade math and science like our teacher Mr. Rigole?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:55AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Several months ago, I attended a book signing here in Houston where Buzz Aldrin, one of Apollo 11 astronauts, was signing his new science fiction book. Basically, I just saw him and shook his hand. No time for conversation because their were a lot of people in line!

John/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:55AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Do you ever handle classified info?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:56AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I might like to teach 5th grade math and science. I'm not sure. Do you think your teacher has a challenging job?

Kevin/ParkSchool: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:56AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thanks for answering my questions.

Brittany/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:57AM PDT (-0800 GMT) His job is sort of challenging! He has his hands full with us!

Andrea/NASA/ChatHost: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:58AM PDT (-0800 GMT) We have time for Karen to answer a few last questions.

Ashlee/ Rosa Taylor Elem.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:59AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Would you like to work at the Russian Space Center?

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 10:59AM PDT (-0800 GMT) John, No, I don't handle the real type of classified information. In every job, though, there is some information which you should handle carefully until a project is complete - sort of like when you are working on homework or a school project.

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 11:02AM PDT (-0800 GMT) I would very much like to visit Russia and their space center. But I'd prefer to work and live here in Houston close to my family, job and friends.

Andrea/NASA/ChatHost: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 11:02AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Karen - thank you for a great chat this morning/afternoon! I hope you enjoyed talking with us.

Karen Borski, JSC: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 11:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) You're very welcome! I really enjoyed talking with you. Thanks for your great questions!

Rosa Taylor Class of 2003.: . . . . Wed, Dec 4, 11:03AM PDT (-0800 GMT) Thanks for answering all of our questions. We look forward to being able to use the information you archive in our studies and with the S/MORE project!


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