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<Moderator> Good Morning/Evening and Welcome. :) Today, we are delighted to have a very special guest from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz!
<Moderator> As some of you may have already read from his details on the NASA website, Dr. Franklin is a space veteran and has logged over 1601 hours in space. He has received the Liberty Medal from President Ronald Reagan and the government of Costa Rica conferred on him the title of Honorary Citizen
<Moderator> This interview with Dr. Franklin will give you all an insight into his life with NASA and space flight and will give you a chance to learn more about what he has experienced during his time with NASA.
<Moderator> During the interview, you will have the chance to ask Dr. Franklin questions, which will be relayed to the moderator
<Moderator> We also have a list of pre-made questions, which our LiveEvents team has collected specifically for this event.
<Moderator> The channel is set +mb *!*@* to avoid any unnecessary disruption of the event.
<Moderator> The Undernet User Committee would like to give a warm welcome to Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, NASA Astronaut and Director of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center.
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Hello to all. It is a pleasure to be able to join in this live discussion
<Moderator> Thank you for taking the time to join us, Dr. Franklin. Can you first tell us a bit about what your day-to-day duties are in NASA and how you first got involved with NASA?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> My day to day duties vary. I do a lot of research while at the same time train for spaceflight
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> I began my NASA career in 1980 as an astronaut and made my first flight into space on the Space Shuttle Columbia in January of 1986
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Since then, I have had the honor to participate in 7 missions, including one a year ago last June on the Space Shuttle endeavour.
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> I am standing by to answer any questions you all may have
<Moderator> What made you decide to become a astronaut? Is that something you always wanted to be?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> My first interest in space began in 1957 when the then Soviet Union orbited the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. Since then I felt I always wanted to fly in space
<Moderator> We now have some pre-made questions for you, Dr. Franklin :)
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> I am ready
<Questions> What kind of special training did you pass through to become an astronaut ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Basically I am a scientist, a plasma physicist. Most astronauts are trained in the sciences or engineering fields. Many are also military pilots. We all train on multiple shuttle and Space Station systems in preparation for flight
<Questions> What did your family think when you told them you wanted to become an astronaut ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> At first they considered a crazy idea, but they were very supportive nevertheless. At the time, it was very unlikely for a boy from Latin America to be able to become an astronaut.
<Questions> What do you all exactly do when you arrive and dock in the space ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> In my last flight, I had to carry out assemply (construction) tasks outside of the space station. This is called Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) also know as spacewalks.
<Questions> How's the feeling of seeing the earth and the outer space when you are up there ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> The Earth looks beautiful but very fragile. We worry about what humanity is doing to our environment. The Earth is humanity's spaceship and the only one we have. We must protect it.
<Questions> Is it true there is an alien base in the moon ? Did you find martians in mars ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Nothing of the sort. Although the search for life outside of our planet is one of our main objectives. Several spacecraft are now headed for Mars and will arrive in early 2004 also there is another craft headed for Saturn. Next year will be very exciting.
<Questions> How are the NASA missions planned and organised ? What are the current ones ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> A lot of work goes into planning a mission. However, today we are recovering from a terrible tragedy, the loss of our team mates on the shuttle Columbia. We are going through a major regrouping and review of our methods to get back to flying safely once again.
<Questions> What have happened with those space probes the NASA sent in the past ? What information have you received from them ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> The information has been awesome!! The Mars Global Surveyor continue to bring us information on the surface features and composition of Mars; the Voyager 1 and 2 missions in the 1980s gave us a full glimpse at our entire solar system and the magnificent moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The Hubble Space Telescope continues to rewrite the astronomy textbooks. I could go on and on. I hope someday we will find the first signs of
<Moderator> Now it is time for all of your questions. To ask your question to Dr. Franklin you do this: "/msg #questions-nasa your question here". This question will be filtered by a few moderators, please do only ask your question once, and keep them in a civil manner.
<Questions> <chr_away> Hello. I am a PhD plasma physics student in a French University. I would like to know which are the last advances in plasma propulsion at NASA
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> We are making a lot of progress on the development of the VASIMR engine. You can visit our website imbedded in the NASA website or simply do a search on VASIMR.
<Questions> <WhiteZin> what are Dr Chang's thoughts about the tragic shuttle disaster the past january?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> The accident was a terrible loss to all of us, but more so to the families of our fallen colleagues. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board has issued the report of its findings to NASA and we will be taking steps to address all of these findings and correct the identified defficiencies and problems.
<Questions> <Azer> After a mission, how long does it take for the average person to recover from the effects of space?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> For the long duration (several months) missions, it may take about a couple of weeks to get back to semi normal, for the short missions (several days) it takes only a day or so. However, the long-term effects of space flight are not clearly known and we are investing a lot of effort in understanding how the human body reacts over long term exposures to space.
<Questions> <Andy_L> Is it true that it is impossible, at this time, to go to the moon an back and that the american landing on the moon was just a movie?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Not true
<Questions> <agR|Ppa> Have you ever witnessed any strange things while in space?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Nothing that I have not been able to explain after some study. The most beautiful of these things are the Auroras, immense curtains of light and colors caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetic field of Earth.
<Questions> <Eagle-One> What is your opinion about the SETI-project (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Outstanding! and very worthwhile effort. I think the internet is helping expand the speed of the search by linking thousands of computers to a single end. The difficulties are the immensity of space and how difficult the task really is.
<Questions> <magic> do you believe there is another intelligent life in the universe?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> In my mind, it would be completely pretentious of us humans to think that we are the only ones in the universe. When you really look at the scale of space, we are in the center of nothing nor do we ocupy a priviledged position. I think it would be much more remarkable if it turns out we were truly alone. I think extra terrestrial life is more the norm than the exception.
<Questions> Why didn't NASA sent a mission to Mars on August 27th, when the distance between us and the red planet was the smallest ever?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> It actually did. It sent 2, which are now en route. The Europeans have also sent 1 and so have the Japanese. There is a virtual flotilla of spacecraft currently headed for the red planet, taking advantage of the unusual proximity.
<Questions> <sprinkler> do astronauts get a lot of girls? if so, where can we sign up ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> fascinating question...
<Moderator> That's a best kept secret :)
<Questions> How can we know more about NASA ? What do we need to apply or join ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> It is easy. The NASA web page is available to all. If you want to work for NASA or on the space program of any of the space faring nations, you probably need to pursue a career in science or engineering. There are very exciting times ahead.
<Questions> <Season`d> What is the Tethered Satellite System that you tested twice and why is it important?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> Is an experiment in electrodynamics, an electrical generator or cosmic proportions. The 20 km electrically conducting tether attached to the shuttle and with the satellite at the other end resembled a kite deployed in the vacuum of space. It was able to generate 5000 volts of electricity by its movement through the Earth magnetic field.
<Questions> <carlillos> What projects or missions does the NASA have for the future ?
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> We will be sending much more powerfull robots to explore Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter (Europa, Ganymide, Callisto), which we think might have liquid oceans under their icy crusts. Eventually we will lay the foundation for human missions to these exciting places.
<Moderator> Right :) i think we have just gone over the 1 hour mark :) so should draw this to a close
<Moderator> On behalf of the Undernet User Committee, we would like to thank you for taking your time to speak with us us today and answer our questions.
<Moderator> We wish you and NASA the best of luck on your future journeys into space.
<Moderator> For more information on Dr. Franklin's time with NASA, you can visit his biography website at http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/chang.html
<Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz> It has been a pleasure and I apprecited your time and attention
<Moderator> The log from this event will be posted on www.user-com.undernet.org/promotions very soon
<Moderator> Watch this space for more upcoming events soon :)
<Moderator> Always check back on www.undernet.org/forum for Undernet news and information
<Moderator> If anyone has any idea's for other events such as this one, please email them to <promotions@undernet.org>

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