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Explore more on the World Wide Web.  

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. Explore the ISS on the Web. Try searching using the phrase “International Space Station” to learn more about this exciting project.

A. Here’s a site that will give you the latest news about the International 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 International 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 website will offer you a gateway to the Environmental Control and Safety Systems designed for the International Space Station (and Space Station Alpha).


D. NASA offers a vast and complex network of Web sites that explore many scientific topics. This NASA Web site can be used as a starting point for your explorations.


E. As the International Space Station orbits the Earth, it moves in an out of the Earth’s shadow, absorbing the Sun’s light to generate valuable electrical energy, and, at the same time, exposing itself to the Sun’s deadly, radioactivity.


F. 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. The Sun is the source of Earth’s life-giving energy. Only recently have scientists discovered that it can also be a fiery, angry neighbor. Try the search phrase “solar weather” using Vivisimo.com as a search engine.

As scientists and engineers penetrate further and further into space with satellites, the Hubble telescope, and experiments on board the International Space Station, they are discovering more and more about the Sun’s volatile, angry personality. They are learning more and more about the natural phenomena that protect the Earth from its fiery neighbor. Solar science and the Earth’s magnetosphere are new scientific frontiers. Each new piece of hard-won information probed from deep within the Sun’s fiery furnace is forcing scientists to rethink the foundations of chemistry and physics.

A. The center for solar science and weather in North America is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Space Weather influences our world’s communications networks and electrical power systems.


B. The NOAA homepage for Space Weather is below. Try the “Education” link on this page for even more information about the Sun.


and another good Space Weather site is…..


C. Additional images of the Sun’s many phenomena can be seen in the dramatic images at…


D. Just exactly what is a solar particle ejection? These Web sites offer fiery proof of this angry facet of the Sun’s personality.


E. And finally, 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. It is a source of mystery on the Sun. The sun’s magnetic fields project deep into space, extending past the Earth and out into the solar system. The sun’s boiling energies creates forces that twist and whip and break its magnetic fields in ways that scientists cannot yet fully understand.

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.


F. 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.

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.

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.

A. Here are four really good sites with lots of links that will let you explore this exciting area of science.


B. Review the ALARA guidelines at this site.


C. Dangerous radiation has some not-so dangerous cousins than are not as energetic or vibrant. How about the light the enters our eyes or the electromagnetic waves that keep radios and TV’s “online.” Here are two sites that review the entire electromagnetic spectrum.


D. The story of the Christmas bricks and a great example of a NASA mission patch can be found on this link. This link offers information about NASA’s attempts to deal with the dangerous radiation that the Astronauts are exposed to.


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

On Space Station Alpha, unlike on the Earth where water bubbles up from underground and pours down from the skies and the air’s gases hug us like a blanket, electricity, air, and water are intertwined into a complex self-sustaining, technological system. The Astronaut’s world is driven by electrical power.

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. There’s always room for new inventions. This one is not on the Space Station, yet, but just may solve many of the Station’s future sustainable energy challenges.


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.