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  • Space Mess

    Do you want to learn how astronauts eat while in space? Food floats in orbit because the food and everything around it is in free fall. As the shuttle or station orbits the planet, the speed of the spacecraft balances the force which is pulling the spacecraft towards Earth so everything is falling. When a spacecraft leaves Earth's orbit, there is still gravity, but its strength is very small compared to the strength of the force on the surface. Try this experiment to find out what happens when an astronaut spills or makes a mess in space.

    Supplies needed:

    1. Bubble solution
    2. M & M's
    3. Pencil and paper

    Instructions:

    1. In the chart below write what you think the bubbles will do when blown into the air here on Earth. Will they float away, burst, or will they stand still? In the second column, describe what you think the bubbles would do inside a spacecraft. Please use complete sentences.
    2. Blow the bubbles, and watch how they move.
    3. Can you affect the movement of the bubbles?
    4. Describe the behavior of the bubbles on Earth in the "Observation" row, under your prediction.
    5. Based on your Earthly observations, you may want to change your prediction of what may happen inside the spacecraft.

      Bubbles on EarthBubbles in Space
      Prediction:  
      Observation: (revised prediction)

    6. In the chart below write what you think will happen if you roll 5 M & M's out of your hand on to your desktop. In the second column, write what you believe would happen in a spacecraft environment.
    7. Try rolling the M & M's twice and describe the behavior of the M & M's in the "Observation" row, under your prediction.
    8. Based on your Earthly observations, you may want to change your prediction of what may happen inside the spacecraft.

      Candies on EarthCandies in Space
      Predictions:  
      Observations:  

    9. Clean up your experiment, just like the astronauts on a spacecraft would have to.

    Credit: "Thursday's Classroom"

     
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