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Explore more on the Internet  

As you prepare for e-Mission: Space Station Alpha you might want to explore the Web to learn more about some of the concepts you study in class.

1. Space Station Alpha is based upon the International Space Station (ISS). Try the following sites to learn more about the station

A. Here’s a site that will give you the latest news about the space station. It offers additional links that are fun to explore as well.


B. Welcome on board the ISS. This site will let you explore the inside of the space station, follow its construction, and view some of the images that have made the ISS an international source of pride and scientific discovery.


C. The International Space Station’s engineers must recreate an Earth-like environment in order to protect the astronauts and permit them to complete their mission in space. This link will offer you a gateway to the environmental control and safety systems designed for the International Space Station (and Space Station Alpha).


D. As the International Space Station orbits the Earth, it moves in an out of Earth’s shadow, absorbing the sun’s light to generate valuable electrical energy, and exposes itself to the sun’s deadly, radioactivity. This site allows you to track the ISS's position.


E. The center for solar science in North America is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Space weather influences communication networks and electrical power systems.


F. The NOAA home page for space weather is below. Try the Education link on this page for even more information about the sun.


G. Here's another good space weather site:


H. Here you will find the daily blog of astronaut Sandra Magnus aboard the International Space Station. On this blog, Sandra takes time from her daily routine to answers questions submited by students from the Aerospace Camp at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She even occasionally takes questions from the readers of her blog. Submit a questions and Sandra may very well answer it - from space!


2. What's all this stuff about magnetism on the sun?

Magnetism is one of nature's truly mysterious and influential forces. It is a continual source of electricity on Earth. The sun's magnetic fields project deep into space, extending past Earth and out into the solar system. The sun's boiling energy creates forces that twist and whip and break its magnetic fields in ways that scientists cannot yet fully understand.

A. This site is great for exploring magnetism. Read about Faraday’s use of magnetism to induce electricity, and turn a magnet on and off to see its magnetic field. We repeat the link to the first site below in the Electricity section. The second site digs deep into the sun’s magnetic fields. The images are fantastic.


B. How does the Earth live so “comfortably” with such a fiery neighbor? The answer is magnetic, ionic, atomic! Here are two Web sites, among many, in which you can dig deeper into the heavenly phenomena that protect the Earth from the Sun’s solar particle ejections and dangerous radiation. Space Station Alpha is at the mercy of the Sun’s deadly rays and radioactive particles. As a medium sized star, the Sun is becoming an excellent fiery laboratory for exploring the fundamental elements that created the universe in which we live.


When you go to the second site above, mouse-over and click on the small, yellow illustration of the Earth’s magnetosphere. It will enlarge. Ask yourself how Space Station Alpha, orbiting almost 240 miles above the Earth, and outside of the Earth’s Ionosphere, might be exposed to solar weather.

C. For a really good slide presentation with lots of images try…


and click the arrows to “watch” the story.

3. Waves of radioactivity projected from the Sun during a solar particle ejection place the Astronauts in danger.

A. Here are some Web sites that you can explore to learn more about radiation, how and where radiation is created, why it is dangerous to human beings, and what the Astronauts do to protect themselves.


B. Review the ALARA guidelines at this site.


C. Dangerous radiation has some not-so dangerous cousins than are not as energetic or vibrant. This site reviews the entire electromagnetic spectrum:


4. Electricity is as important to the “life” of Space Station Alpha as water and air are to you.

On Space Station Alpha, the astronaut’s world is driven by electrical power. These sites provide a great deal of informationabout electricity, batteries, and photovoltaic cells.

A. The fundamentals of electricity apply to Space Station Alpha. These ideas are key to your understanding of electricity.


B. Then, we add the basics about batteries.


C. And how about photovoltaic cells?


D. Here are some other sites about electricity in space.



5. Humans have adapted to the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists must recreate and provide the technology to sustain an identical, earth-like atmosphere on Space Station Alpha.

A. First we must consider the Earth’s atmosphere. Space Station Alpha orbits 240 miles, or 390 Km above the Earth. In what layer of the Earth’s atmosphere is it orbiting? What are the atmospheric conditions outside of the Space Station?


B. Having evolved in the Earth’s atmosphere, humans have become dependant upon a very small range of atmospheric pressures and mixture of gases.


C. Maintaining sufficient atmospheric pressure on board Space Station Alpha is as important as providing the Astronauts with enough oxygen. Oxygen is critical to maintaining human functions such as thinking and moving. What happens to the oxygen that is breathed into the body? Where does carbon dioxide come from in the human body and where does it go?


D. And what happens if the energy supplied to the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems on Space Station Alpha are interrupted?


Good luck on your e-Mission and happy Web “surfing.” - Mission Control Staff

Copyright 2002. Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University. All rights reserved.