Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
We are grateful to the Mars folks for generously volunteering their time to support this service.
The sections below will describe some guidelines and procedures for the process.
K-12 students/teachers and other interested people can email questions to researchers, engineers and support staff. This interaction will be supported by a "Smart Filter" who protects the professional from Internet overload by acting as a buffer. The actual email addresses of these experts will remain unlisted. Also, repetitive questions will be answered from an accumulating database of replies; thus the valued interaction with the experts will be saved for original questions. (More information about how you can directly search this database will follow later.)
For classrooms asking questions:
We recognize that this creates a gray area about whether or not a question is appropriate. Simply use your best judgment. Since the main idea is to excite students about the wonders of science and research, please err on the side of having the students participate. If you are not sure whether or not to send a question, send it.
Some teachers have used a group dynamic to refine the questions that they email to experts. For example, after first studying LFM material, students divide into groups and create a few questions per group. All of the questions are then shared and students are given an opportunity to find answers to their classmates' questions. Those that remain unanswered are sent to the LFM team.
Ideally, the act of sending questions will further engage the student in their learning. It may help to think back to an early stage of development when the 3-year-old learns that repeating the word "why" can get parents to do most of the work in a conversation. The wise parent will try to get their child involved by asking "Why do you want to know?" The same is true in the classroom. Teachers might want to help students learn to ask good questions. Here are three questions the students might ask themselves as they submit their questions:
We will acknowledge and answer all questions as quickly as possible. Our goal is to provide a basic acknowledgment immediately. In most cases we should be able to provide an answer within one week to 10 days.
In the subject field, please put the letters "QA:" before a descriptive subject. Also, provide a sentence of background information to help the experts understand the grade level of your students. The following example should illustrate this idea.
TO: FROM: your email address SUBJECT: QA: People in control room Hello, I am an 8th grader from Mt.View, California. In the television program, it seemed like there were a lot of people in the control center to control the mission to Mars. How many people normally work in this room? Thanks, Kelly Valentine