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Jan 17, 2002

John Bluck/Elena Kozak

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

650/604-5026 or 650/604-9000

jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov


RELEASE: 02-04AR

JANUARY MARS WEBCASTS TO SPARK STUDENT INVENTIVENESS

Challenges that may face future space travelers to Mars will be the focus of three NASA Internet webcasts slated for late January.

The purpose of the January webcasts is to give students a head start for Space Day, an exciting annual event celebrated throughout the world on the first Thursday in May. Webcasts are lively, interactive events that enable students to watch live video, listen to audio, and talk to the experts in real time on the Internet.

"This year, Space Day will focus on Mars exploration," said Linda Conrad of NASA Quest, an award-winning web site housed at NASA Ames Research Center in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. "Working in teams, students will be challenged to think creatively, and to come up with the best solution to likely situations encountered by future astronauts." Challenges will range from making human life easier in a hostile environment to relating their experiences back to Earth.

A NASA expert will be available at each of the January webcasts to answer students' questions. Additionally, students may post their questions ahead of time by going to:

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/projects/space/spaceday/index.html

"A unique strength of Quest is that it brings NASA people and science into the homes and classrooms through the Internet," Conrad said. Several NASA employees will take part in this month’s webcasts and share their expertise with students.

 

Susan Ramsey, an engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, will be the expert guest during the first webcast scheduled for Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST). The focus of this interactive session will be the first Space Day design challenge -- creating a device that will make life on Mars easier for astronauts. Ramsey works on the hardware used by astronauts for living in space.

Chris Culbert, also from Johnson Space Center, will answer questions about robotics during the second webcast scheduled for Jan. 23 at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST). The subject of this webcast is the second Space Day design challenge that involves designing a robotic mission to one of the planets or moons in our solar system.

Johnson Space Center’s Kelly Humphries will be on hand for the third webcast scheduled for Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST). This webcast will address the third and final Space Day design challenge, which deals with the creation of an electronic newspaper that would tell everyone on Earth what it is like to live on Mars. Humphries is the founder of NASA’s Human Spaceflight website, where he and his staff strive to keep "the best information available about human spaceflight." The web address is

www.spaceflight.nasa.gov

Space Day is an annual event co-chaired by former Senator and astronaut John Glenn with the goal of advancing science, mathematics and technology education. Recognizing that exploration is the essence of learning, NASA Quest's January transmissions place at students' fingertips the expertise of NASA scientists and engineers, as well as their real-life experience in science and mathematics.

For more information or to participate in Space Day 2002’s ‘Adventure to Mars’ activities, go to:

http://www.spaceday.com/en/what/working.php

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