My daughter has never worked with a science fair mentor before, and isn't exactly sure what one is. Her topic area is Earth and Planetary Science (Mars). I'm assuming she will do something that involves downloading NASA data sets (she did that last year), so she does not need physical access to the advisor's lab.
She is required to do a research plan this year, which needs to have:
C. Description of procedure and methods of data analysis
From the training I went to last year, I got the impression that unless her project involves hazardous chemicals or other restricted materials or procedures, the advisor's job is basically done after the research plan is finished, and she is responsible for doing the project on her own after that.
The science buddies article on finding a mentor is really not geared towards finding that kind of help, at her grade level. She's just not an advanced high school level student. She is particularly hung up on the part that says, "Don't ask the scientist directly to be your mentor. Ask to meet them and learn about their research."
Her preliminary question is:
Which areas on Mars scar more easily when they get hit by asteroids?
I want to know which areas of Mars have the deepest craters due to the hardness of the ground. A possible problem I may encounter is that I think crater depth may have to do with the proportions of the asteroid. Also, I'm worried that older craters may start to refill with dust. I will need to do background research to know if either of these things will cause a problem.
She really does need a mentor. She has already outpaced my own understanding of Mars. Last year, I would forward her questions to an educational outreach person I found through a NASA website. This year I think I need to start stepping back and having her contact her advisor directly. She is very much an introvert, so there is also a lot of shyness to overcome as well. She just isn't going to call random people on the phone.