This post is for teachers in the 14 communities across the U.S. and Canada starting SSEP Mission 8 to ISS this week. You are invited to use this challenge to get the nearly 4,000 students immersed in Mission 8 microgravity experiment design to start thinking about the concept of microgravity (often referred to as the phenomenon of ‘weighlessness’). The solution to the Challenge will be posted Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
I’ve heard a lot about this weightlessness stuff, with astronauts having a great time floating around in space. So I wanted to find out first hand what’s going on up there. Since they don’t have a spare seat on the next flight to low Earth orbit (at least not yet), I looked far and wide to find an amazingly tall mountain whose peak rises to the Space Station’s altitude in orbit so I could climb up and see for myself.
Station is currently orbiting the Earth about 260 miles (420 km) above sea level, and, by the way, crew and station are zipping along at 4.7 MILES PER SECOND (7.6 km/sec) relative to you sitting there at your computer. Bam. The Station just moved 4.7 miles. Really.
It took some Googling, but I found it! See my mountain in the picture? It accidentally got captured in an old Space Shuttle photo. Mt. Everest is only 5.5 miles (8.8 km) high. MY mountain (Jeff’s Peak) is 260 miles (420 km) high. I found it south of the Land of Make-Believe, down a not too well traveled path. Still, you’d think someone would have noticed it since it’s 47 times higher than Mt. Everest. (Have you ever heard of Jeff’s peak? No? See, nobody knows about it!)
So this week, I’m going to take the time to climb my mountain, and in my hand is my trusty bathroom scale, spring-loaded and guaranteed to be accurate at any altitude. I’ll camp out at the top, and I’ll wait until Space Station flies right by my mountain, so I can look in the windows and see if those lucky astronauts are weightless and floating around.
Here now the challenge—
As soon as I confirm they’re weightless in the Space Station, I’ll step on my bathroom scale to see my weight. If I weigh say 150 lbs (68 kg) when I’m standing on my scale in my bathroom at home, what will I weigh on top of my mountain?
Hint: You don’t actually need to calculate my weight. I’ll do that in the Solution to the Challenge. Your assignment—if you decide to accept it—is to guess what you think I’ll weigh and why. Hmmmm, lots of possibilities.
Post your guesses below, and remember to include why you think your guess is correct. Students of ALL ages are welcome to post a guess.
I’ll even give you almost week to noodle on this in class, and at home with your parents, and then post your guesses. I’ll post the answer next Tuesday March 3, 2015, right here at the SSEP National Blog. See you then, and good luck noodling!
Also – if you want to follow along with the latest news from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), you are invited to subscribe to the SSEP National Blog at the bottom of the right column.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc. are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
I think you will weight as on earth.
I believe you would way the same weight in space like you are on earth.
I think that you will be the same amount of pounds you are now on earth, because your the same person.
I think the weight will be the same.
I think that he will weigh the same because his mass is the same.unless he went to the gym before he left he will be the same as before.there is not enough gravity to keep him down to weigh him self anyway. So in that case there is really no way to know
I Think he will be weightless. He will be weightless because there is no gravity, so he can’t reach the ground. He’ll be flying around space.
I think u will weigh the same
I think that when he is space he will become weightless even though he is still the same not much has changed on him I think that he is still going to weight zero even though I might be wrong I feel very strong agents my awnser.
I believe you will be the same because gravity might make you seem like you have no weight, but you are actually falling when you hover over the ground. You might be hovering over the ground, but it does not mean that you don’t weigh anything. That is one of the mistories of space that with world might never know.
I think he will weigh the same because he will not loose any weight because it is not like you would weight up there would you.
I think he still has weight. I think that because he still takes up the same mass also it is not like he losses weight when he is up in space.
I think that the farther you’re away from gravity the less you way but like if you’re closer to gravity the more you way.
I think it isn’t possible to weigh nothing up there it is just the place that changes not you. You should at least weigh a pound.
I believe that if you were to weigh yourself in space, you wouldn’t weigh anything. Space has barely any gravity, so you might not even be able to step onto the scale! All of the NOTHINGNESS could make you weigh 0 lbs.
He is still heavyweighted because of gravity making him fell light
I think he will way nothing because with little gravity how will he be able to stand on a scale to weigh himself unless he would lean on something but he wouldn’t get his exact weight.
I think his weight would be 0 because he is in space.
I think he will weigh nothing because of the gravitational orbit.
I think that he would weight 0 pounds because all the fluids would just flout in your body. Also you will flout in the air you won’t exactly stand on the scale.
I think u will weigh the same because it’s just the gravity that is keeping us from touch the ground so if u are not touching the ground than the effect of your weight won’t changes. If u still feel your weight since u are floating up and down than u must still have some weight on u.
I think he will weigh nothing
I think he will weigh nothing.
I think he will not way something
Our class thinks your weight will be the same on the mountain top as on earth.
Our class thinks that we need more information to accurately complete this challenge. However, we also think that he will weigh less on the top of the mountain than at earth’s surface because the mountains height reaches outside of earth’s atmosphere in to space.