Informal space science education thread

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Postby rkolker » Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:21 pm

Depending on the size of the bolts, you could superglue some velcro to one side of the nut and to the board to hold them.

Another idea for the same basic task - threaded PVC pipe and fasteners. I bet the fasteners would be made neutrally buoyant with a little foam. The advantage would be everything would be bigger and easier to handle than smaller bolts and nuts, and the velcro idea would work to hold them until fastened to the board. Attach some flexible hose to the pipe and you have a "satellite refueling" sim. Everything's available at Home Depot and cheap.
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Postby des » Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:03 am

There's an idea. I think my idea was to do something hard like little nuts and bolts. I don't know how much harder underwater will make this, but kids easily handled tiny objects with gloves. (I did a glove box. The kids examined rocks in a box. The main problem was righting a very small dropper bottle, but the had no trouble unscrewing it, and using the dropper.) I am already doing a three sided figure underwater requiring 3 people to put together. I know this has been done many times so I am reasonably sure this one will work It's really too bad I can't try this other first!

But I like holding the nuts and bolts with super glue/velcro (not sure as they are small) to the side of the panel, perhaps. Or perhaps super glue/velcro something ELSE which could hold them. (A magnetic plate for instance.)

I also like the flexible hose and pipe thing. I think one could work out some kind of team exercise with this. So I could look around at Lowes or Home depot. It also would be nice to have a third activity.

Keep those ideas coming! :-)

--des

rkolker wrote:Depending on the size of the bolts, you could superglue some velcro to one side of the nut and to the board to hold them.

Another idea for the same basic task - threaded PVC pipe and fasteners. I bet the fasteners would be made neutrally buoyant with a little foam. The advantage would be everything would be bigger and easier to handle than smaller bolts and nuts, and the velcro idea would work to hold them until fastened to the board. Attach some flexible hose to the pipe and you have a "satellite refueling" sim. Everything's available at Home Depot and cheap.
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Postby empress » Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:57 pm

Well, as usual, I am late - it looks as if about 6 months too late for this thread! But I have read it with interest, being a science geek and all, as well as an educator. Des - it looks as if you have most of your science experiments set (and run) already. However, let me just say for the future, if I can ever help out (or put my 2¢ in), I will be happy to do so. Also, if you ever need written stuff as "go alongs" for your camp, I can problably help you with that. Most of the stuff I write are the "go along" materials to basal programs - for example, study sheets, "fun facts" sheets, extended activities, extracurriculum tie-ins, summary sheets, and of course, evaluations (aggghhhh!).

A couple of more ideas - the original Teacher-in-Space was very interesting in that Christa McAuliffe was supposed to do experiments in space while kids did the same experiments on Earth, and would discover the difference that zero-gee made. That might be interesting to do with younger kids. (It is similar to your "Toys in Space" activity.) Middle school kids - especially if the camps are "spaced out" in time - might each perform a crystal growth experiment, recording their procedures throughout. Then, as the next camp arrived, they would start their own crystal growth, and look at the previous camp's experiment and take notes (in the original group's notebook) of how the growth is proceeding, what they do to resaturate the solution, etc.. This would not only give the kids a sense of discovery, but they would be able to see change over time, as well as practice in how to write clear and detailed experiement notes (which can REALLY help them down-the-road).

Of course, I love Estes rockets! I had a friend who used to seriously believe that you could launch ANYTHING if you just strapped enough D motors to it... and generally, he could, but he also set a lot of things on fire...! ... Maybe you'd better just stick to the kits for that one! I'll be thinking of experiments, and if I see some cool things on the JPL site, I'll let you know. (They have handouts for us to bring to our lectures, like paper models of the Cassini probe. I used that to show kids the various things engineers have to consider when designing spacecraft and probes.) With educators like us, no kid should ever hate science!!!

PS - I love to play with liquid nitrogen... :)
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Postby des » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:30 pm

Haha! Well I now have to come up with more stuff. I will be doing a little bit of stuff with physiology-- right up your alley I would guess. Some things I have done in the past are testing reaction time. I actually have a whole book (well practically) from NASA on the subject.

Depending, I might want stuff to go along with it. Of course I am not really tying this to a curriculum but fun facts and so on might be fun.

We did do some longer experiments. We have crystals growing (and some NOT growing) Epson salts, sugar, Borax, and Alum. Alum must be tricky as it just isn't workign at all. We also did some hydroponics. This I need to rethink totally so I didn't do it this time, but the kids did have a good time using different nutritive fluids (water and plant food, coke, coffee, and milk).

I have the Toys in Space video and didn't do it, as the first session most of the kids had taken my one hour class before and we did this. Might be good for next week, in little segments. As this group did not take the class.
It's just a matter of time, and what how much I can fit in.

I just found this neat materials science handbook i had downloaded. Oh well maybe some more next week. We are doing the diapers one and the homemade silly putty. I also like the non-colloidal liquids but not sure what the space connection would be. But it is sure strange stuff.

Mythbusters which I LOVE did the diet coke and mentos thing. They compared things like carbonated water and mentos; frozen mentos (which freezes the gum coating; etc. Rock salt works well too. Sugar decreases the reaction for some reason. It is pretty safe, and there is some materials science aspect to foams, with qualities of liquids and gas. (Of course, I suppose the corn starch and water has qualities of a solid and a liquid that are quite interesting.) You could make a rocket of it as well. Come to think of it...

I have no experience with liquid nitrogen. Dont' know where to get it, or what to do with it. I would guess great caution is required.


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Postby rkolker » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:49 am

I was at Home Depot over the weekend looking for (and not finding) an o-ring to repair my outdoor hose connector (they said they don't stock them because they fail too often--honestly that's what they said--I don't know how they expect me to water my front lawn without one!) and found another idea for creating neutrally buoyant tools - foam pipe wrap. It comes in various sizes, can be cut to length, and would wrap nicely around a wrench handle. I was going to buy some, but got so angry at them for their explanation of not stocking o-rings I juet left everything I was going to buy in the shopping cart and left.

I found the o-rings on the internet. You can find anything on the internet.
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Postby rkolker » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:51 am

One more thing,

Liquid nitrogen is tricky. I wouldn't use it for anything but demonstrations with kids. Plenty of stuff to do without using LN2.
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Postby empress » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:59 pm

Oh no - liquid nitrogen is definitely NOT for kids to use - or most adults, for that matter! It's what they use to freeze warts and scars at a dermatologist's office. Drop a rubber ball in it, and you can shatter it with a hammer! You also need a special container to keep it at the proper temperature and pressure. So it's not for kids! Actually, I shouldn't be allowed to use it either, but I have... officially, of course (processing tissue samples for a lab). Nooooo - I was definitely NOT advocating it for kid use...!
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Postby rkolker » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:20 pm

And here's 1001 things not to do with the kids and Liquid Nitrogen: http://www.physik.uni-augsburg.de/~ubws/nitrogen.html

:P

But most of them are safer than trying to start a barbecue with Liquid Oxygen:

http://www.ambrosiasw.com/Ambrosia_Times/September_95/2.5HowTo.html
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Postby empress » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:28 pm

Re barbecues: My dad (Italian) used to pour gasoline on the charcoal and then use a vacuum cleaner that was wired backwards to blow air onto the flames, often almost seting a tree on fire if we forgot to move the grill back. I was, like, in high school before I realized that you didn't need 20-ft flames and the odor of gasoline to cook hamburgers. No wonder I'm a vegetarian now... :)

BTW - Rich - We always knew that LOX had more potential than just some oxidizer in the External Tank... Maye we should let Boomer have some next year... He hasn't blown anything up that we know of in quite some time!
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Postby des » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:24 pm

No no, I wasn't thinking the *kids* could use liquid nitrogen. I didn't even let them use dry ice. I did a demo (although it didn't work). (Dry ice with sand, corn syrup, ammonia, water,etc. makes a very good comet, except there was a hole in the plastic bag and the water dripped out leaving me no water ice. All the dry ice evaporated and it looked like kitty litter!)

I have heard of *teachers* using liquid nitrogen (though with older kids). I studied your list thoroughly and decided exactly which projects I will attempt. (of course, I won't have kids there to watch! :-))

Sadly we don't get to do the Mars mission tomorrow. No parent volunteers (got one for Thursday or maybe some other day). Anyway it is just as well, it is going to be 100 degrees tomorrow. Yikes but i hate this, I don't care if we have only 18% humidity. It is cooling down a bit later.

I have a few alternate activities for tomorrow. A DVD, potato-nauts (suiting up a potato for space, very cute), etc.


No O-Rings, geeze what would NASA or Home Depot be without O-Rings?
But the idea of the foam padding sounds good. I may do this with the liter bottle as a backup.


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Postby rkolker » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:56 am

Are you aware of JP Aerospace's Pongsat program?

http://www.jpaerospace.com/pongsat/index.htm



Student experiments flown to the edge of space by balloons and launched in rockets.

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball.

These ping pong ball ‘satellites’ are flown to the edge of space by balloon or launched in sounding rockets.
The PongSats are then returned to the student.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get students excited about science and engineering.

There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat’s can be as simple or complex as
you want them to be. Experiments can be as simple as comparing how high a ball bounces before and after being exposed to vacuum.
The PongSat can carry seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays effect their growth. Several small inexpensive computers and other
electronic can fit inside a PongSat. These can be used to create a wide range of experiments. Whether carrying a marshmallow to
see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSat can create motivation, drive
and passion in the classroom.

PongSats are flown at no cost to the student or school.


Image

Yeah, I helped sponsor a flight.
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Postby des » Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:25 am

This PongSat thing sounds very cool and would be great if I had the kids more than I do. But this is just a double 3 week session in the summers. In my "real life" I teach reading to kids who can't read. Maybe someday I do this all the time. I am actually working on this, don't know why as it is about ten times harder than my real job, but it is a LOT more fun...

I am still having a bit of a culture shock from the low income school with low motivated kids to these kids. I had my first little talk with a kid today about why it's ok to fail once in awhile at something. Now there's a first!!
Most of the time, I'm pounding my head against a wall so they would care about something. Yikes.

But my short term goal is just to get it out of a private prep school and in to a more inclusive setting next year.

BTW, this sounds like a very simple version of the "Get Away Special". They were small (but larger than this) projects that went up on the shuttle.
A few were from schools, but I understand the school, etc. had to pay the much of the cost (?).

I also saw something on NASA tv about groups of hobbyists (including students) launching weather balloons and tracking them. I looked this up and saw nothing in my area, which is surprising as we are the kingdom of balloons. And the most infamous weather balloon of all time was in Roswell NM. (The infamous alien autopsies, etc. Anyway, it is excellent business for Roswell NM which has nothing at all to say for itself otherwise. A plot by the Chamber of Commerce, but I digress.) It is not too expensive to buy a small weather balloon but all the tracking stuff is quite a lot of $$.
Anyway, I will bookmark the page for future reference, but it seems a little unlikely.

Anyway, it might be useful to someone else around here.


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Postby rkolker » Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:10 pm

I'm having a good time thinking about Pongsats.

Popping corn in space: Do you need heat if pressure goes to zero? If you pop corn in a vacuum does it pop bigger? If you expose popcorn to space and it doesn't pop, how will it affect the popping of the returned corn back on earth?

Various things you can do with a small bellows created from sealing the ends of the bending part of a flexi-straw.

Moving something (sand) through a small hole due to differential pressure.

Small "weather station" built using sensors and microcontrollers to measure temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.

How does battery output change with temperature for different kinds of batteries?

How does space exposure affect different kinds of seeds?

This is fun. I'm going to have to build some of these.
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Postby des » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:04 pm

I see we were moved to Von Braun's World. I think this is exactly where this thread belongs!

Cosmic ray exposure (though it was gamma rays) and "Man in the Moon Marigolds"? Though seriously, SEEDS was a small part of the LDEF sent on Challenger in 1984. Tomato seeds were exposed to space. (They were sent in 1997). Just type in tomato seeds and space into google. The link is VERY long and wouldn't fit. (As it happens, seeds exposed to space grow very well.)

But I still like your ideas, besides this could be done again, as I am sure that many kids haven't done this.

I have been reading all the wacky things done with oobleck (corn starch and water). I can't think of a pongsat thing for it though.

Can adults send pongsats? Or do you just have special connections?


--des
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Re:

Postby SpaceCanada » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:07 pm

SpaceCanada wrote:Did they disassemble the Buran or is it still on display someplace?


Finally found an answer to this, and it's one that will make your heart sink and shed a few tears:
https://youtu.be/8dpW_uz18Q8?t=167

I don't have any words... just 8O
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Re: Informal space science education thread

Postby p51 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:02 pm

Yeah, OK-1K1 (the only flown Buran) got crushed in it's hangar in a winter storm. A few Roscosmos employees died in the collapse as well as I understand.
There was never any real plans to display the Buran anywhere, sadly. Russia doesn't have a museum on the level of Smithsonian Air & Space museums to have placed it on display.
BURAN prototype OK-GLI (their version of the Enterprise, used for landing tests, but it had jet engines so it could take off on its own and go around in landing tests) exists today in Germany, at Technik Museum Speyer.
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Re: Informal space science education thread

Postby SpaceCanada » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:46 pm

p51 wrote:BURAN prototype OK-GLI (their version of the Enterprise, used for landing tests, but it had jet engines so it could take off on its own and go around in landing tests) exists today in Germany, at Technik Museum Speyer.

My friends mentioned last week that they wanted to see this on their next trip to Germany, actually. I'm glad to hear at least one is on display and being preserved somewhere.
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