Live From Mars WebChat

Date: November 18, 1997

Featuring: David Mittman
Flight Engineer, Mars Pathfinder
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 09:11:15 ]
The Live From Mars Web chat with David Mittman will begin at 10:30 a.m., PST today. Be sure to read David's bio and journals BEFORE coming to the chat room. They can be found at:

[ MrsDabbs/1stgrade/WestView/Elementary 09:51:08 ]
Just testing...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 09:57:32 ]
RE: [MrsDabbs/1stgrade/WestView/Elementary] Hello Sandy! Good to talk to you again!
Good Morning Mrs. Dabbs and 1st graders! So glad you could make it again this week :-) We'll start chatting in about 35 minutes!

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary 10:02:31 ]
Hello! Great, we will be back. Thanks!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:19:46 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] Good Morning Mrs. Dabbs and 1st graders! So glad you could make it again this week :-) We'll start chatting in about 35 minutes!
Test Response

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:25:51 ]
RE: [Tammie/Tikigaq] We were not able to RSVP 24 hours in advance due to an incorrect address in the initial message. I didn't figure it out until this morning. I appologize for that. I'm hoping there is still space available for us at this late notice because my students have read the biography and written 5 questions. They are 4th graders.
Tammie: YES! There absolutely is room for you and your kids. We will begin in about 10 minutes. Chat with you soon!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:31:55 ]
HELLO EVERYONE! Thanks for joining us for another Live From Mars chat! Our Mars expert today is David Mittman. David has worn three hats during the Pathfinder mission: flight engineer, mission planner and flight controller. Today he will bring us up to date on the Pathfinder and will tell us about he and the PF team are moving on to new jobs.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:32:16 ]
Hi David!

[ Linda/Ames 10:32:43 ]
Tammy, Glad to see you found your way here!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:33:32 ]
RE: [MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary] We are back. Is Mr. Mittman here yet?
Welcome back to Mrs. Dabbs and 1st graders and also to Tammy and her 4th graders!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:36:23 ]
RE: [MrsGinnyDexter] Dear David, My students are getting ready to chat with you. They have been studying about Mars for a year. They are 6/7 graders. They are in the process of doing the on-line Weather Worlds Project. Learning about how to gather weather data on Mars. Last year they went to Ames Research Center and met scientists that were involved in the Mars Project. They have been following the new information/discoveries on Mars. We are very pleased to get a chance to chat with you
Even though I'm not directly involved, I've been watching the Weather Worlds mail just about daily. I'm glad to see it becoming such a "dynamic" project.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:37:43 ]
RE: [MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary] Welcome Mr. Mittman! My students have a question for you: How long did it take for the Pathfinder to get to Mars?
Hello MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary! The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft launched from Florida on December 4th, 1996 and landed on Mars on July 4th 1997. That's seven months of interplanetary travel!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost10:37:44 ]
RE: [Amanda6/7class] Hi Mrs Dexter's 6/7 class is here to ask some guestions!
Ask away Amanda :-)

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:39:34 ]
RE: [Amanda6/7class] Do you enjoy being a Flight Engineer
Amanda6/7class: Being a Mars Pathfinder flight engineer is without a doubt the most exciting thing that I've ever done here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When I saw my name on the list of "Flight Engineers" way back when, I kept asking mission manager Richard Cook if he really meant to include me! I couldn't believe it!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:41:05 ]
RE: [Megan/DenverCO] As a flight controller on Pathfinder, how many times/week are you talking to the Deep Space Network now? And how often do they/you send a message to PF?
Megan: I'm no longer on "active duty" when it comes to being a Flight Controller. Since we're only attempting to communicate with Pathfinder about once a month, two other flight controllers get most of the flight control shifts. :-( At the peak of my duties as Flight Controller, I'd be working about 4 out of 10 days.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:41:50 ]
RE: [Megan/DenverCO] As a flight controller on Pathfinder, how many times/week are you talking to the Deep Space Network now? And how often do they/you send a message to PF?
Megan: I should also note that even though four out of ten days may not seem like a lot, I also had my "regular" job as mission planner to do!

[ Sabrina6/7class 10:42:56 ]
Hi my name is Sabrina. I am at Hydesville school.Mrs.Dewxter whants to know.What is you'r job know. The kids think that the pathfinder is not giving any new info.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:52:49 ]
Sabrina: Thanks for asking about my job! I'm still working a couple of hours a week on the Mars Pathfinder project while we write our "end of mission" reports. (Just like you guys write book reports!) I spend most of my time on a project known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) which will launch in December 2001 and will take pictures of the stars and galaxies for 2.5 years.

[ Megan/DenverCO 10:43:22 ]
How about your duties as Mission Planner--are they over also? Or are you still the one sending the command to PF once a month? And you do decided what to tell PF to do, for example PATHFINDER, PLEASE CALL HOME!!!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:54:28 ]
Megan: I'm still technically a Mars Pathfinder mission planner and flight controller because there is still a Mars Pathfinder project. However, my workload is very small since we aren't currently able to communicate with the spacecraft. I may still get to send commands to the spacecraft as a Flight depends on when the Flight Controller's work shift is during the day.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:43:30 ]
RE: [Amanda6/7class] when you were at the occidental college did you ever think that you would work with Sojourner?
Answer: When I was in my last year at Occidental, I knew that I would be going to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and I knew that JPL did lots of interesting space exploration (my brother had also worked at JPL many years ago). I had no idea that I'd be involved in something as exciting or as important as the Mars Pathfinder project and Sojourner rover.

[ AMY 10:44:32 ]

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:56:22 ]
Amy: My training for being a Flight Engineer started as soon as I started working on Mars Pathfinder. The Flight Engineers use all their knowledge of how the spacecraft works to do their jobs. My training to be a Flight Controller took about three months, and started in early 1996.

[ Amanda6/7class 10:44:41 ]
did you wont to be a scientist when you were a kid?

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:45:24 ]
RE: [unknown] Thank you for letting us chat with you today. The kids say hello and we are very excited to talk with David today. Our first question is: What is a Pathfinder and how do you guide the Pathfinder? That question was written by Maggie Lane.
UNKNOWN: Please fill in your name so that David knows who to send his response back to. Thanks :-)

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:45:55 ]
RE: [MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary] Mr. Mittman: We have heard that the launcher is not responding. Is it fixed yet? If not do you think it can be fixed? What are the chances of the pathfinder returning to Earth?
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: We're having trouble communicating with the "lander" or Sagan Memorial Station that now sits on the surface of Mars. We believe that it got too cold and that part of its radio no longer works properly. We're going to continue to try to talk to it over the coming months, but it is not very likely that we'll be successful. The lander and rover Sojourner will remain on Mars until one of you young people becomes an astronaut and goes up there and brings it back! It can't come back on its own.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:46:52 ]
RE: [Kathy] Hi can I Join this chat? My network was down and I was unable to register earlier.
Kathy: Just jump in and start asking questions! There is no advance registration required for today's chat.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:47:01 ]
Amy: I've been working on Mars Pathfinder for about four years or so, and was named as a Flight Engineer about two years ago.

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary10:47:08 ]
Mr. Mittman: Could people travel to Mars in the same time (7mons.) or would it take longer?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:58:21 ]
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: I imagine that people will eventually be able to travel to Mars in about seven months. The difficulty is figuring out how to survive for those seven months, plus the time it takes to return to Earth!

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 10:47:15 ]
Oooops! That question that was previously asked was from me. I failed to put my name on it. Let me repeat the question for my student Maggie. She would like to know: What is a Pathfinder and how do you guide the Pathfinder? Oh, by the way....this is a 4th grade class in Point Hope Alaska. We are located above the Arctic Circle so during the winter we can do a lot of star gazing with all the darkness we have.

[ EmilyStoller 10:47:18 ]
did you ever want to be something else than a space engineer?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:59:37 ]
Emily Stoller: My father is a physician and for the longest time I wanted to be a doctor just like him. When I became interested in computers I quickly changed my mind. I could still be a doctor, though, if I wanted should see my handwriting!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:48:28 ]
RE: [EmilyStoller] hello, my name is Emily. I would like to know if you enjoy working with N.A.S.A.
Hello, Emily! Working with NASA means working for the best space exploration and technology company in the world! Working at JPL means being associated with *the* leading organization involved in exploring our solar system with robotic spacecraft. It's a very good association!

[ WilliamRoberson 10:48:45 ]
Hello,what was the best pitcer pathfinder ever gave?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:01:44 ]
William Roberson: That's a fantastic question! Before landing I talked about exciting pictures with my fellow Flight Engineers. We couldn't decide if a picture of the Rover taken from the Lander would be more exciting than a picture of the Lander from the Rover. It turns out that both were very exciting! Seeing the Rover out on its own, and seeing the "mother ship" the Lander from the rover are both exciting pictures. The color image of the Rover still on its petal with "Twin Peaks" in the background was also very exciting!

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary10:48:45 ]
Mr. Mittman: Do you believe in a 10th planet?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:02:27 ]
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: I certainly am not about to say that there is no 10th planet! I don't have enough information at this point to really know.

[ Amanda6/7class 10:49:11 ]
Yesterday me and my friend Keeshia read your biography and we enjoyed it!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:02:55 ]
Amanda6/7class: Thanks for enjoying my biography! I've really enjoyed living it!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:50:19 ]
RE: [Tammie/Tikigaq] Oooops! That question that was previously asked was from me. I failed to put my name on it. Let me repeat the question for my student Maggie. She would like to know: What is a Pathfinder and how do you guide the Pathfinder? Oh, by the way....this is a 4th grade class in Point Hope Alaska. We are located above the Arctic Circle so during the winter we can do a lot of star gazing with all the darkness we have.
Tammie: No problem! I can honestly say that you and your kids are the very first people that we've had join us from ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE. Welcome :-)

[ DavidMittman/MPF 10:50:26 ]
RE: [unknown] Thank you for letting us chat with you today. The kids say hello and we are very excited to talk with David today. Our first question is: What is a Pathfinder and how do you guide the Pathfinder? That question was written by Maggie Lane.
Maggie: Pathfinder is acually two spacecraft in one. A lander which sits still on the surface of Mars, and a rover which drives around the surface and explores the area surrounding the lander. The Mars Pathfinder project is the organization which designed, built, and operates the two spacecraft. We tell the two spacecraft what to do by sending them "commands" by radio. These commands cover a full day's activity and take about 16 minutes to travel from Earth to Mars.

[ Amanda6/7class10:51:08 ]
Why did you decide to be a scientist?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:04:54 ]
Amanda6/7class: Actually, I'm not a 'scientist'. I've had some formal training in science, but on Mars Pathfinder the scientists are "geologists", etc. I'm technically considered an engineer. My earliest scientific/engineering interests were as an elementary student.

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary 10:51:42 ]
Mr. Mittman: How big is the Pathfinder (length and weight)?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:05:48 ]
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: The lander weighs about 800 pounds and is about seven feet across when fully open. The rover stands about one foot high and two feet long and weighs about 25 pounds.

[ Sabrina6/7class 10:52:35 ]
Was it really fun when you got the first signal from the pathfinder.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:07:13 ]
Sabrina6/7class: Did you see the video footage of Jennifer Harris jumping up and down when we received the signal which indicated that Pathfinder had successfully landed on Mars? That's how we all felt. We had thought that we wouldn't be able to get that signal and that we'd have to wait three hours before learning of the lander's fate. We were lucky to have gotten confirmation of landing as early as we did.

[ Amanda6/7class 10:53:06 ]
Hey David Whats the best part about working at JPL?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:08:13 ]
Amanda6/7class - 67: The best part of working at JPL is the teamwork. Mars Pathfinder required a delicate ballet of parts and people, and we really pulled it off!

[ MrsGinnyDexter 10:53:40 ]
did you like when you were training for your job

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:09:26 ]
MrsGinnyDexter: While being trained for being a Flight Controller and Flight Engineer, I kept asking "Are you really going to allow me to do this?" (This is the "grown-up" version of "pinching myself.)

[ Kathy 10:54:09 ]
The kids in Mrs. Mead's 3rd grade class at Westhampton Beach Elementary School have been watching the Sojourner since the summer they are all fascinated and are now comparing Earth to Mars. Do you expect to see future research on Mars? Kathy Haack

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:10:46 ]
Kathy: Comparing Earth to Mars geology is a fantastic set of lesson plans! NASA will be sending a mission to Mars about every 26 months, so you'll be getting much more material for your lesson plans.

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 10:54:13 ]
Mr. Mittman, First of all, What is the Pathfinder? What does it feel like to guide the Mars Pathfinder Spacecraft to Mars? from Vanessa in Point Hope

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:54:27 ]
RE: [EmilyStoller] Hey people is this cool or what? we are talking to one of N.A.S.A's smartest reserchers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Emily: I agree with you 100 percent. I've done about 100 chats this past year and each and every time I still get excited when I read questions from kids and teachers and then see Mars experts' responses! Totally awesome I say :-)

[ WilliamRoberson 10:54:29 ]
Hello agian,what didyou do with the pathfinder?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:12:39 ]
William Roberson: Hello William! I wrote the software which was used to help plan the lander's and rover's activities on the surface of Mars. I also got to actually send commands to the spacecraft during its cruise to Mars and during its surface mission (this is like being a DJ who gets to play the hits on a radio station). I was also involved in the day-to-day operation of the spacecraft.

[ shannoncooper10:55:56 ]
did you ever think this job was not right for you and if you did what would you like to do instead

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:14:21 ]
shannoncooper: Shannon, the hardest part of the job was the schedule. I have a wife and two small children, and the job required a lot of time away from home. Luckily, my wife is a school teacher, and when I was busiest, she was on summer vacation. I'm probably not going to have an "operations" role on a spacecraft anytime soon. I'll wait until my kids are a bit older.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 10:55:59 ]
RE: [Amanda6/7class] Talk to me!!!!!!!!
Amanda: As you can see, there are LOTS of people in this chat today! David is trying very hard and typing very fast, in order to answer EVERYONE'S questions, including yours!

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary 10:56:46 ]
Mr. Mittman: How long did your team work on the mission before it was launched?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:15:32 ]
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: From the time we got our formal start until launch was about three-and-a-half years. In that time we had to design, build, and test the entire spacecraft system (lander and rover), and the entire ground system for making commands and getting data from the spacecraft.

[ MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary 10:57:40 ]
Mr. Mittman: How many people work on the team with you?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:17:02 ]
MrsDabbs/1stGrade/WestView/Elementary: There are about 12 Flight Engineers about four of whom specialize in Mission Planning. The Flight Control team had six members at its peak, three of whom were also Flight Engineers.

[ Amanda6/7class 10:58:40 ]
Is Sojourner still sending back new data?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:17:55 ]
Amanda6/7class: Sojourner radios all its data to the lander. Since we can't communicate with the Lander, we don't know what the rover is doing. Scientists here on the ground are still very busy analyzing the data we already have.

[ GregatCKMS 10:59:50 ]
What programming languages, other than FORTRAN, do you need to know for your job?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:19:12 ]
GregatCKMS: English! That's the most important language you can know when you are working as part of a team. Talk about what you're doing and listen to what everyone else is doing. (Okay, the other answer to your question is: C, C++, FORTRAN, and LISP.)

[ Kathy 11:00:01 ]
Can you explain to me how the messages go back and forth so quickly between Earth and Mars? Jen from Westhampton Beach Elem. School - 3rd grade

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:20:35 ]
Kathy/Jen: The radio signals that we use to communicate with the lander (all radio signals, actually) travel at the speed of light. Given the distance between Earth and Mars, it now takes about 16 minutes for radio signals (and light) to travel between the two planets. You'd have to double that time if you're looking for a "return signal".

[ DavidatCKMS 11:00:31 ]
What got you interested in computer science?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:20:35 ]
DavidatCKMS: I probably first got interested in computers because of my older brother's incessant talk about them. Before that I spent all my extra time with photography. In high school, I got a chance to use my first personal computer, the Apple IIe.

[ Amanda6/7class 11:00:38 ]
Have you ever wished that you had a different job?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:22:35 ]
Amanda6/7class: Sure, I sort of wish I was Bill Gates... Actually, I have a very strong interest in starting a computer software firm, but space exploration is much more of a sure thing.

[ AMY11:00:42 ]
How long did it take you to get where you are today?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:23:13 ]
AMY - 92: I've worked at JPL for 11 years now! That's one year longer than I've been married!

[ EmilyStoller11:00:52 ]
sorry, I forgot to say what school I'M FROM. I'M FROM Hydesville School. are there many people working on the problem of sojourner on Mars?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:24:33 ]
EmilyStoller: The flight team has shrunk over the past several weeks. We've still got about a dozen people who are actively involved on the project writing "end of mission" documentation. All the commands we're sending to the spacecraft have already been developed...we're just waiting to see of we get any kind of reaction from the spacecraft.

[ Amanda6/7class 11:02:33 ]
How many years were you in college?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:25:12 ]
Amanda6/7class - 96: I've spent about four years in College, and came to JPL right afterwards.

[ ScottatCKMS 11:02:45 ]
How often do you need to tell a scientist or team of scientists that they can't do what they want to because the Pathfinder is not able to perform that function?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:26:12 ]
ScottatCKMS: We had a couple of problems where the scientists wanted to do something that the engineers didn't want to do. It wasn't a big problem. Most of the "education" took place before landing while we worked out our plans for the surface mission.

[ Kathy11:03:23 ]
Will you be building more Sojourners in the future? Katarina - Westhampton Beach Elem. School, Mrs Mead's 3rd grade class

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:27:11 ]
Kathy: Yes, we'll be building more mars rovers. They'll have different names and be going to different places on Mars, but they'll be just as exciting. The next mars rover is scheduled for 2001 and it will travel over greater distances.

[ Sabrina6/7class - 101 - 11:03:31 ]
What about the pathfinder do you like the most. I like the pictures.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:28:00 ]
Sabrina6/7class: For most people, the pictures and weather measurements are the most exciting part. I enjoy imagining what it would have been like to see this huge bouncy ball coming toward me on the surface of Mars!

[ WilliamRoberson - 102 - 11:03:50 ]
Hey, did you everdo something wrong in your job?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:28:50 ]
WilliamRoberson: Yup, I had one commanding error while on Flight Control duty. I send a command a bit too early, but it didn't cause any difficulties.

[ Sethparker - 103 - 11:04:30 ]
How do you change inches into millibars on the barometor?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:29:15 ]
Sethparker - 103: I don't have an inch/millibar conversion handy. Sorry.

[ EmilyStoller 11:05:01 ]
Sandy, is there any proof of MARS PATHFINDER alive on mars?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:30:27 ]
EmilyStoller - 106: I think you're asking if we have any proof that Mars Pathfinder is still working on Mars now. The answer is no, we have no information which tells us its condition either way. That's what is so frustrating about trying to fix the information on what's wrong.

[ Amanda6/7class 11:05:03 ]
Why did you decide to be a Flight Engineer?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:31:23 ]
Amanda6/7class - 107: The flight engineers were picked from amongst those people who knew the most about how the spacecraft works. I designed a bunch of software which behaved like the spacecraft, so I knew alot about how it actually worked. That's why I was picked as a flight engineer.

[ Kathy 11:05:04 ]
Did you find out what most of the rocks were made of? Brooke from Westhampton Beach Elem. School, Mrs. Mead's 3rd class

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:34:17 ]
Kathy - 108: The scientists believe that there are two classes or groups of rocks in our landing area: one set is high in sulphur and the other is high in silica. They'll continue to analyze their data in the coming months as they have a chance to calibrate the data to make sure they understand just what the data is telling them. There also may be evidence for what is called a "conglomerate" rock which indicate some kind of cementing via a water process.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:05:20 ]
RE: [Sethparker]How do you change inches into millibars on the barometor?
Seth: Hey, that sounds like a homework question to me :-)

[ Sethparker 11:06:31 ]
Not to me. No.

[ calebb/dms 11:06:02 ]
how come there are two polar caps on mars when they say there is no moister on mars

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:35:17 ]
calebb/dms: The polar caps are made from frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice), not water. Instead of melting the frozen carbon dioxide goes directly from its frozen state to a gas.

[ SebastianatCKMS 11:06:31 ]
Do you still use FORTRAN to program the Pathfinder's computer?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:36:06 ]
SebastianatCKMS: The Pathfinder computer was programmed in C, C++. We use a special language when we build command sequences for the lander and rover.

[ Kathy - 114 - 11:07:12 ]
Do you think Sojourner shut down because of something on the surface of Mars besides extreme cold? Joe from Westhampton Beach Elem. School, Mrs. Mead's 3rd grade class

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:36:41 ]
Kathy - 114: I think that when we finally lost the battery on the lander, things got very cold and something in the lander's radio broke.

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 11:08:19 ]
This is another question from Point Hope. However, before we ask this question you should know that our whole classroom cheered when we found out we were the first school from the Arctic to chat with you. How exciting!!! Point Hope is an Inupiaq Eskimo Village with about 750 people living here. My students can't wait for us to learn more about the moon and all the other planets out their. We just purchase a new telescope last year and are looking forward to taking a peek. Now back to our next question. This one is from Adam Tooyak: What is it like to be a Scientist for Nasa? Wow, what a job!!!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:38:25 ]
Tammie/Tikigaq: I've been interested in astonomy for a while, but haven't been able to find the time to actually go out and stargaze. Now that I'm working on SIRTF, I've been able to learn a lot about the stars. I've even started reading astronomy magazines. Working for NASA is one of those "wow, what a job" jobs. Where else can you get paid for learning a bunch of new and interesting stuff!

[ TylerCKMS 11:08:24 ]
Do the pictures from Mars come back in black and white or color? Are you able to change them from BW to color?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:39:58 ]
TylerCKMS: Good question! The pictures come back in what is called "grey scale". Each dot or pixel in the picture is given a gray scale measure from 0 to 255 representing its darkness. When we want color pictures, we take three of these pictures, each through a different color filter, and combine them on the ground into one color picture.

[ EmilyStoller 11:08:32 ]
do you have fun at N.A.S.A.?

[ phillipdms - 121 - 11:08:53 ]
Are there really mountains on mars?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:40:53 ]
phillipdms: There really are mountains on Mars! Just take a look at the horizon in some of our Mars Pathfinder photos! There are also huge canyons, and the largest volcano in the solar system is on Mars.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:09:04 ]
RE: [EmilyStoller] Sandy, is there any proof of MARS PATHFINDER alive on mars?
Emily: I'm going to let David answer that one. All is I know is that the team has not heard from Pathfinder. I don't believe they're ready to say it's dead because they're still sending messages once/month.

[ Morgan 11:09:30 ]
Will people ever beable to live on Mars.

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:41:51 ]
Morgan: I think that eventually, people will be able to live on Mars while conducting scientific research. I don't think that ordinary people (non-scientists) will want to live on Mars any time soon.

[ JennaRenfroDMS:10:34 ]
How often do people go up into space?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:42:29 ]
JennaRenfroDMS: Jenna (I like that name!): People get into space now only on the Space Shuttle or on the Russian Space Station Mir.

[ WilliamRoberson:10:57 ]
You do not need to answer my last question.

[ Sabrina6/7class 11:11:03 ]
How many questions have you got about the pathfinder.

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:43:05 ]
Sabrina6/7class - 128: I've easily answered about 1000 questions about Pathfinder from lots of different people.

[ Russ 11:11:07 ]
Why are the clouds frozen on Mars

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:44:01 ]
Russ - 129: Clouds of carbon dioxide gas and possible water vapor form when the temperature and pressure is just right. We've been able to see early morning clouds of carbon dioxide in our pictures from the surface of Mars.

[ Amanda6/7class11:11:27 ]
Outof all the things you have done what do you think youre greatest achievement is?

[ KristenWilliamsDMS11:12:03 ]
Have you ever gone up into space?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:45:32 ]
KristenWilliamsDMS: I've never completely broken free from the Earth's gravity...

[ EmilyStoller11:13:33 ]
THANK YOU so very much for answering my questions.

[ Morgan 11:13:38 ]
Have you ever messed up in your job?

[ Kathy 11:13:50 ]
First of all we would like to thank you for getting on line with us today. What a thrill, we are really excited. Do you usually get to work with kids? Do you like working with kids? from all of us at Westhampton Beach Elem. School

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:46:30 ]
Kathy: I try to talk to kids groups whenever I get the chance. I love working with kids and getting them interested in science.

[ DREWGDMS11:14:03 ]
Will there be another pathfinder? and if so will it be better than the first?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:47:18 ]
DREWGDMS: There will be more Mars spacecraft, each with their own strengths. Hopefully, they'll all be successful in doing what they're designed to do.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:14:25 ]
RE: [Sabrina6/7class] Thank you for answering my guestions very much.
Sabrina: You're MOST welcome! So glad you could join us today. Hope to chat with you again soon!

[ WilliamRoberson 11:14:49 ]
thank you .

[ EmilyStoller11:15:01 ]
Did you eve... got to go bye!!!!!

[ Amanda 11:15:40 ]
Thanks David!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:15:53 ]
RE: [WilliamRoberson] Thank you.
Goodbye William. Join again soon!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:16:44 ]
RE: [EmilyStoller] Did you eve... got to go bye!!!!!
Goodbye Emily. Good questions, thanks!

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 11:17:19 ]
Yes, you answered our question of what the Pathfinder and Rover are. Vanessa would still like to know what it feels like to have helped with such a mission as guiding the Pathfinder to Mars. She would also like to know if any life exists on Mars? Thank you!

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:48:23 ]
Tammie/Tikigaq: I feel proud to have been part of the Mars Pathfinder project. I don't believe that life as we know it exists on Mars.

[ Jessica11:18:57 ]
do you think there is a possibilty of life on mars.

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 11:20:58 ]
Our last but not least question from Point Hope is from Irene Gallahorn....How do you know about your job and your journal said you never studied? What's your secret?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:49:50 ]
Tammie/Tikigaq: There are alot of things that you'll do in life for which there are no classes...even at the college level. If you're expected to do something no one else has done, where do you go to take a class!?!?

[ russ 11:23:00 ]
how come Mars has weather like Earth?

[ DavidMittman/MPF11:50:44 ]
russ: Mars' weather is only slightly like Earth's. Mars is somewhat similar because Mars has an atmosphere (although it is very thin). Mars also undergoes heating from the Sun. Those are the basics of weather.

[ Tammie/Tikigaq 11:23:52 ]
A big thank you from the 4th graders in Point Hope!! Keep up the good work so we can learn more about the Solar System!! Hope we can chat again soon!!!Thanks Again

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:26:35 ]
RE: [Tammie/Tikigaq] A big thank you from the 4th graders in Point Hope!! Keep up the good work so we can learn more about the Solar System!! Hope we can chat again soon!!!Thanks Again
Tammie: We hope you and your kids can chat with us again also! Keep watching the LFM chat page for future chats. I hope to have another Web chat next week and will advertize it by the end of the week. Stay warm :-)

[ MORGAN 11:27:19 ]
How many jobs do you have?

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:51:45 ]
MORGAN: Right now, I'm working on Mars Pathfinder and on the Space Infrared Telescope Facility. Two jobs. I used to do a couple of different things on Mars Pathfinder (Flight Engineer, Mission Planner, Flight Controller...)

[ Kathy 11:30:26 ]
I am in Mrs. Mead's 3rd grade class at Westhampton Beach Elem. School, New York. What was your favorite subject when you were in 3rd grade? My favorite subject is working on our Sojourner project. - Michael

[ DavidMittman/MPF 11:52:24 ]
Kathy/Michael: I always like the math book in elementary schools. You know, where you learn about sets and set membership and stuff.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 11:50:10 ]
EVERYONE: It's time for David to get back to his real work now! Thank you very much for joining us today and for all of your many, many questions! You did your homework! And a SPECIAL THANKS to David for taking the time to answer nearly all of the questions today. Good luck with your new job on SIRTF!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost 12:35:20 ]
Tammie/Tikigaq: If you're still on, please send me an email message as there is a 4th grade class who would like to be penpals with you. Contact me at: