Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Mars Team Answers Your Questions

Browsing answers to questions already asked

An archive of question/answer pairs of previously asked questions will be maintained and categorized for easy reference throughout the duration of the project.

Asking the Mars Team your questions

The opportunity to send email questions to the men and women of the Mars team is available now through 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.)

Tips for asking good questions

Each and every expert is excited about connecting with you. But it is important to remember that the time and energy of these researchers is extremely valuable. If possible, please review the materials available online to gain an overall understanding of the basics. It would be best to ask questions that are not easily answered elsewhere. For example, "What is the Mars Global Surveyor?" would not be an appropriate question.

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:

The last question is the most interesting. Student reflection on why they want to know something is a very valuable learning experience.

Logistics of sending in questions (address and format)

Questions will be accepted from now through the duration of the project. To submit a question, mail it to the following email address:

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.

FROM:           your email address
SUBJECT:        QA: People in control room
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

Thanks, Kelly Valentine

One question per message

If you or your class have several questions which are unrelated, we ask that you please send each unrelated question in a separate email message rather than as one message with many different questions. While this may be inconvenient, it is important because it will help us to keep track of the questions and ensure that no question remains unanswered. Messages that do not follow this request will be unnecessarily delayed as we go through the extra step of splitting up the messages ourselves.

20 question limit

Any individual teacher will be limited to submitting a total of 20 questions every three months. Hopefully this will encourage more classroom discussion about what students want to know and will lead to research done before asking questions.