Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Webchat: October 24, 1996

Charles@Kennedy: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:03PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
This is a test message from Charles Whetsel

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:04PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Hello Charles. I forgot, where are you from?

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:08PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Is anybody around to talk about LFM?

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:11PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
If you are here, please speak up by typing in the box and pressing
the chat button

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:14PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Gotcha. I'm not too involved yet, but trying to figure out how to
weave it into my Conceptual Physical Science or College prep
Physics courses, both of which have little flexibility. 

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:16PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Is there a way to Get Messages without sending out a blank line?

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:16PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Hi Tom, Good to meet you. I gather youa re a high school teacher.
Where do you teach?

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:17PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
In Flint, Michigan. Where are you specifically, and what do you

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:18PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, In this version of WebChat, there is not a way to get
messages unless you send a blank line. In the commercial version
(which we also use), an interval can be set so that it updats every X
seconds. But we don't run it here because we run this forum in
unmoderated mode and have no ability to edit out pictures. In the
past that's been a problem, so we are waiting for the software
vendor to provide us with the ability to keep pictures out.

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:18PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
(This seems like a very cumbersome way to chat.)

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:20PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, I work at NASA Ames which is in Silicon Valley (Mt. View
actually). I direct the online parts of LFM and use these weekly
chats to stay in touch with real customers, answer any questions
and concerns, etc. Also I direct a number of other online K-12

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:21PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, I think compared to AOL, it is indeed cumbersome. After a
bit, you get used to it. What is your frame of reference?..I mean,
what chat systems do you like

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:21PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Hi Marc. Thanks for the email about why the discuss-digest-lfm
hasn't been working lately. Computers... Don't you just love 'em.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:22PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Does your "rigid curriculum" (I can't remember the exact words
you used) cover any space themes or material?

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:23PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Oh! I should make notes on what I read. Glad to meet you. I have
lots of great physical resources, but trouble getting the students to
take advantage of them. If I can't get the whole class involved,
because of time constraints, I would like to make it an optional
project, but I only had limited success with L from the HST. I was
hoping to listen and get some pointers here that would apply to my

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:24PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Hi Don, Your note earlier today on the home-schooler chat
reminded me that I hadn't been keeping folks informed. So credit
yourself with inspiring the explanatory message. How are you
doing with getting other home-schoolers interested in LFM?

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:26PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, The chat is one way to get pointers, but often it isn't the most
thoughtful dialogue. (How clever can one be in less then a minute
with neanderrthal typing skills!). But another way is to join the
discuss-lfm list and specifically describe what some of your
problems were. I think you'll likely elicit responses from some very
experienced teachers. Do you know about discuss-lfm?

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:28PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Most of the chat I've done (it's been a while) has been IRC or
mIRC. In Physics we do a chapter on gravity and orbits later in the
year. It would be nice to have some kids do a Mars trajectory on
MS Space Simulator. (I have gone Mars-direct myself, at 4 g's :) .)
In Conceptual we're sticking to the State objectives which really
(amazingly) don't deal directly with space (or at least not in our

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:28PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, another idea. What if kids only used the connect with an
expert part of LFM. So they studied what they normally do. But if
anything in the class relates to LFM (like Mars or robotics or orbital
mechanics), they could brainstorm difficult questions and send
them into NASA experts. What does the curriculum cover?

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:28PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
How am I doing? I don't know. We plan on meeting with other
parents on Nov. 5th to go over it. My wife and I have offered to
include other kids in it. I hope now to get some other parents
interested. I do have one father who is very interested (as I am) in
putting something together for the Red Rover project.

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:30PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
What is the FLM?

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:31PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Yes, I have the LFM newsletter on the discuss-lfm-digest. I'll try it.
I also sponsor a small engineering contest team (NEDC) which I
will try to turn into a robotics club and use LFM as a source of
ideas and inspiration.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:34PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: FLM is LFM which is Live From Mars. It is a K-12 online
and Tv project. See for more info. It
basically follows the NASA engineers and scientists sending two
spacecraft to Mars over the next two months. The LFM project lasts
until Dec 1997

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:34PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, robotics club using LFM sounds like a great idea. Don, have
you seen the Teacher's Guide yet? You can download parts, but for
$10 you buy a really nice booklet filled with lots of lesson plans.

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:36PM PDT (-0800 GMT)

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:37PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Yes, I could give extra credit for decent questions for the NASA
experts. We have full Internet access in my room, but the kids
hardly ever use it because they won't invest their own time, and I
can't work with one kid at a time. (Sounds like I'm complaining
now! ;( ). I'll make it a point to train two kids to use it for 10,000
extra credit points or lyra, their choice.) I cover a standard Physics
curriculum and in Conceptual we will cover Mechanics, Heat,
Light, Sound, Atomic and Nuclear, and Chemistry. 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:37PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: I would never try 30 first graders all day. You are a brave man
or woman Where are you from? How did you happen to this

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:39PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
I also appreciate the http address and will certainly check it out. The
little ones love Mars and it has always held a fascination for me
too,. I was so depressed they didn't find something there to greet
the astronauts.

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:40PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
As far as getting other parents involved. We are getting short on
time for the first launch. Hopefully, though, I think that I have
found my source for access to NASA-TV. If we do anything with
Red Rover it will have to be pieced together (ie. not necessarily
Dakta and with our own interface board). As homeschoolers we
don't have the funds for anything else.

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:40PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
OK, I'm female, but I am married to a US History teacher and we
live in Fla.

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:41PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Marc, I've got to get going. Thanks for the advice. I will keep
trying and subscribe to the discuss list. I will also check out the chat
in a week or two. Thanks again! This is a great thing and I hope I
can get at least one kid to really appreciate it.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:42PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom: I'd guess the Mars missions are ripe with examples of how
the concepts you'll tach in the classes are put into practice. I
recently found out that by measuring the intensity of the radio
waves that are receieved on earth from MGS spacecraft (orbits Mars
every 90 minutes), scientists can determine a lot about the Martian
atmosphere. Also that the rover has a Alpha Xray Photometer (I
think that is the name)..that it sticks against a rock and emits low
levels of measuring what comes back, the elemental
compunds of the rock can be determined

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:43PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
You folks should come on down and see a real launch. I can't even
describe the thrill . The hairs were standing on end on my arms.
The sound is something else. We see night launches from our
house. The children watch day launches from the walks. Yes, we
watched unfortunately the blow up. Can't describe the feeling that

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:44PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Mer, What do you mean " I was so depressed they didn't find
something there to greet the astronauts. ". Do you mean some kind
of life. Don't give up so easily. I believe there must have been life
there (because of all of the water and the warmth), so it is only a
matter of finding the right evidence

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:44PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Marc, I have only read the draft of the teachers guide. Thank-you
for reminding me that I need to order the final guide. I can do that
online can't I?

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:45PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Tom, I really enjoyed meeting you. Goodbye

Tom: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:45PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
You're right about the plentitude of applications, but I've got to
teach the basics at the same time! So much to do, so little time! I
_do_ love the job, though. Bye!

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:47PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Don, Can't order online because we aren't accepting credit card
payment from our server. But the order form is at:

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:47PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Marc, I have to ask since you brought it up. A couple of questions
came to my mind this morning about the "Life on Mars" issue.
How do the scientist know that the rock came from Mars?

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:49PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
I ment that I wanted to see something up and crawling. I too agree
that there must have or still might be some kind of life form there. I
just can never believe that we are it. 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:49PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: I once saw a space shuttle launch. I was great, but nuts. My
wife and I took the train down from NYC. After going all night, we
arrived in Orlando and I knew a launched was scheduled. So we
rushed like mad to the rental car place, jumped in and roared east.
All the while Amy was trying to figure out where to direct he
screaming auto

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:50PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Don, I have wondered that too. So glad that you asked? 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:51PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
After an hour, we got to a place where a lots of cars were going.
Still not sure, we followed and when we saw a lot of people
parking, we did too. I knew the time was getting close, so we
rushed towards the water. Just as we got the the Shuttle lifted off
and we saw it clearly. We were totally out of breath and it went by
so quick. Next time I'd like to spend many hours anticipating, etc.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:53PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Don, mer. It utns out that the rock has bubbles in it. When the air
inside was sampled, it matched almost exactly the composition of
Mars as measured by Viking. What blows me away is that some
silly volcano went burp and hurled a rock from Mars to Antarctica,
where a silly scientist picked it up and tested it....what are the

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:53PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Another good http is as it has a good
bit of info on life on Mars.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:53PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: how far do you live from KSC?

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:53PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Marc, you are obviously braver than I am. I have considered
driving from Texas to Florida to see a launch. But I know that, if I
do, the launch will end up being delayed.

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:56PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
I think you hit the nail on the head.....What are the odds?????? It
just seems so unlikely. Couldn't some of the air have leaked out
over that long a period of time and the real compo. of the air ahve
been changed? 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:58PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Don, the other peak experience was a visit to the launch pad. When
I was very junior at NASA, somehow a friend and I weaseled into
some special NASA training back east. When we got there
everybody else was mid-level NASA managers or above. A met a
fellow from KSC. So on a later biz trip there, I called him (he
worked in launch ops and had offered me a tour). When I got to his
office, I knew he was a big cheese because he had a couch in his

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:58PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
We live near Ocala, but parents have a condo at COCO so we see
the launches up close and personal. We see the shuttles pass over
on there way back. There is a sight!!!! We hear the booms all the
time. Ever see a 1st grader hit the dust? It is a RIOT!! We warn
them ,but they still jump. 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 3:58PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: but if the bubble is surrounded by solid rock, it can't leak out.

Don (Homeschool): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:01PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
I am going to have to be going now. It's time to eat (priorities, you
know). Actually, I have had my wife delay dinner a bit so that I
could be here. The natives are now getting restless. I hope to get the
order form in the mail tomorrow. That will be tough for me,
though. I hate snail-mail. The only time I use it is for Christmas
cards. Bye for now.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:01PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Anyway, this fella took me to the pad (it was about 5 days before a
launch). We rode up in the elevator and stood at the level where the
crew goes in (I think). We rode down and stood right underneath
the three main rocket engines. Wow. Later we went to the Orbital
Processing Facilities where they service the shuttles and poked
around. Really one of the best days of my life...I am a spacehead!

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:02PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Our school took as an inservice a trip to the Cape and we got to go
up under a rocket that was on the launch pad. Even the tour guide
could not believe that NASA had cleared for us to be there. He had
never been allowed that close before. What a really appreciation you
have after that. It isn't that shiny, unscathed looking craft that is
seems from a distance. The burn area with the bricks missing was
quite a sight and really let you get an idea of the power behind the

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:04PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
I know what you ment about the rock and I really don't have a 1st
grade mentality but I am a sceptic, and as you stated the odds are
too much.

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:05PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Bye Don. Also, mer, I will need to be going. I really enjoyed
meeting you, and I'll stick around for a few more moments in case
you have any more last minute questions

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:06PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Goodness...try skeptic.....I have been with 1st grade too long.
Sorry about that!

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:07PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
Nice chating with y'all too....Keep warm....It'll be 90 here
tomorrow We still are wearing shorts to school and swimming in
the ole pool 

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:08PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
mer: Wow, on the way back, can you really see the Shuttle well as
it returns

mer: . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:09PM PDT (-0800 GMT)

Marc (California): . . . . Thu, Oct 24, 4:10PM PDT (-0800 GMT)
By MEr, have a great swim. It is starting to turn colder in Northern
California. THat means we do our swimming in a hot tub! I hoep to
catch you back here another week.