STEM Activity: Space Exploration Day

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STEM Activity: Space Exploration Day

Design an out-of-this-world spacesuit to explore the surface of newly discovered exoplanets!

 

Materials Needed

  • Aluminum foil
  • Craft items (e.g., patterned tape, pipe cleaners, stickers)
  • Exoplanet Cut-Outs
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Plastic wrap or bubble wrap
  • Recyclables (e.g., cardboard, plastic containers)
  • Tape

 

Instructions:

  1. Get ready to blast off and head into the unknowns of outer space by designing the ultimate spacesuit! Outside the protective atmosphere of our planet Earth, astronauts wear spacesuits to keep themselves safe from extreme temperatures (hot and cold), radiation and lack of oxygen.
     
  2. Think about what an astronaut might need while traveling outside of their spacecraft. Beyond the necessary survival features, what might improve their experience? Write down or sketch your ideas.
     
  3. Check out the features of existing spacesuits and research different planets and exoplanets. What types of spacesuit features would help an astronaut better navigate these new environments and communicate their findings? With these features in mind, sketch your ultimate spacesuit!
     
  4. Gather your materials and turn your vision into a reality by constructing your suit.
     
  5. Now, suit up and go for a spacewalk! Cut out the exoplanets and scatter them on the ground. Challenge yourself to make a giant leap from one to another in your spacesuit.
     
  6. Continue your space explorations by simulating an exploratory walk on an exoplanet. Use items from around your home to create an otherworldly obstacle course. Place an exoplanet at the end.
     
  7. Put on your spacesuit and navigate the course. Would you change anything about your spacesuit design? If yes, what? Modify and put your ideas to the test!

 

What are we discovering?

Celebrated on July 20, Space Exploration Day marks the anniversary of the first time humans set foot on the moon! Fifty-one years ago, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had the honor of exploring the moon in person. As they collected new data and valuable moon rock samples, they saw their steps forever captured as footprints on the moon’s surface. Because the moon does not have an atmosphere, their footprints will never be wiped away from wind or water erosion! Since that first landing, 10 more astronauts have made the extraordinary journey to the moon! Space enthusiasts can thank National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Maxime Faget (pronounced fah-ZHAY) for dreaming up and designing the original space capsule, Mercury, that carried American astronauts into orbit for the first time. Faget’s invention opened a whole new world of exploration and possibilities. What might you invent for your next out-of-this-world adventure?

 

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