For the 18,300(!) Student Researchers Now Engaged in SSEP Mission 12 to ISS – A Challenge for the Start of Program: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?


To all SSEP Mission 12 student microgravity researchers, just before his return to Earth on Soyuz 33S, on May 13, 2013, Expedition 35 International Space Station Commander and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield – the first Canadian to walk in space –released this video. Watch Chris (and his guitar) and see what weightlessness looks like. We are honored that we can share this with our two SSEP Canadian Communities participating in Mission 12 to ISS – School District #68 Nanaimo, British Columbia, and Winnipeg School Division, Manitoba. When watching this movie you’re invited to go to full screen on your computer and turn up the volume – maybe even project it on a large screen in a classroom and turn off the lights.

 

To all SSEP Mission 12 to ISS Community Program Directors: this Challenge is covered as part of the program start Skype for your community’s Local Team of Mission 12 educators. These Skypes for the Mission 12 communities are being conducted by SSEP National Program Director Dr. Jeff Goldstein through Friday, September 22, 2017.

This blog post is for teachers in the 31 communities across the U.S. and Canada that just started SSEP Mission 12 to ISS. You are invited to use this Challenge with your students to get them thinking about the concept of microgravity (the technical name for the phenomenon of ‘weightlessness’). As part of this Challenge, students are asked to submit what they think is an answer in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below. Please encourage your students to submit answers, so that all students visiting this blog post can see what other Mission 12 students across the U.S. and Canada are thinking. Let’s use this blog post as a social media platform for sharing thoughts about microgravity.

The solution to the Challenge will be posted to this SSEP National Blog on Monday, September 25, 2017. 

 

I’ve heard a lot about this weightlessness stuff, with astronauts having a great time floating around in space. I’ve even seen astronauts on YouTube videos and in movies (like Chris above), and they’re floating as if they weigh nothing at all. It just seems like maybe there is no gravity in space.

I really need to find out 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’m going to look far and wide to find an amazingly tall mountain whose peak rises to the Space Station’s altitude in orbit. My plan is to climb to the top of this mountain, look really fast in the big window on the Space Station (it’s called the cupola) as Station flies by my face, and see for myself if they are floating around in there.

Station orbits the Earth close to 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.

OK, it took some Googling, but I found that really tall mountain! 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 by, so I can look in the window and see if those lucky astronauts are weightless and floating around.

Here now the challenge to YOU—
So here I am on the top of my mountain, and the Space Station just flew by – they WERE floating around, and appeared totally weightless in the Space Station, just like Chris in the video above!! OK, so here I am on top of my mountain, at the exact same altitude above Earth as they are, and now, I step on my bathroom scale to see my weight. If I weigh say 150 lbs 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.

Submit your guesses below in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section, 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 a few days to noodle on this in class, and maybe at home with your parents. I’ll post the answer this Monday, September 18, 2017, 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.

[**Metric system note: in the metric system, weight is measured in Newtons (N). 150 lbs is equivalent to 667 Newtons, which is the weight of a 68 kg mass at Earth’s surface.]

The solution to this challenge will be posted here on September 25, 2017.

 


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 DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are 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 MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

116 Responses to For the 18,300(!) Student Researchers Now Engaged in SSEP Mission 12 to ISS – A Challenge for the Start of Program: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?

  1. Afton September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    I think that his weight will be the same because he is not off the mountain yet so his weight will stay the same.

  2. Elijha Morris September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    Elijha Morris: I believe he will stay the same weight because his body will still be attracted to the force of earth.

  3. Brighton w. September 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    I think that he would weigh 2 pound less at the top f the mountion that would be 128 pounds at the top of the mountian.

  4. Gavin Bllefeuille September 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    I think he would weigh 140 pounds because he is closer to earth than space but it will also give him less weight because he is also close to earths surface on the tip of the mountain.

  5. K k September 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    I think he would wheigh about 2 times less so about 75 pounds on the mountain

  6. Lilly R. September 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    I think his body itself will weigh the same, its just the gravity thats different.

  7. Christian M September 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same. Is say this because hes not high enough to reach space and

  8. Jonah frese September 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    I think he will be 90 pounds because he can see the space station so he must be pretty high up.

  9. Maddie September 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    He will weigh the same because he’s still on Earth and not in space yet.

  10. Natalie V September 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I believe he will weigh the same baecuse he is not in microgravity yet and is still on earth also he is still on earth and the gravity didnt change if he was in space his weight would change

  11. Alice September 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I hypothesize that he will be half of his wieght, because gravity I think takes half of your wieght away. So, 150 divided by 2 is 75.

  12. Anderson September 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I think that he would weight 50 pounds on the mountian

  13. Marshall September 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    I think he will be 150 lbs. because he isn’t in space.

  14. Evelyn September 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    He would weigh 150 lbs. because his weight does not change. The only thing that changes is gravity. So he would still weigh the same but the area around has no gravitational force.

  15. Angel September 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    I belive that Jeff will weigh a little less because he still keeps his weight but the space has no gravitation force pushing down on to the scale that he is using or any other scale that he will be using.

  16. Hartwig September 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    I think he will be half his weight

  17. Brighton w. September 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    I think that he will weigh 128 pounds at the top of the mountian 2 pounds less at the top.

  18. Samah September 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    I think he would be the same weight because he is not really in space so he would stay the same weight

  19. Serenity Vang September 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same because he is not in space, he is on the top of the mountain and that doesnt have gravity.

  20. Caden R. September 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I think Dr. Golstien would be 150 pounds because he is touching earth the people in the space station look weightless because they are traveling at the speed of the space station there is lower gravity in space and that’s why you don’t fly in the car while you are driving.

  21. Leslie R. September 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same because he is still on earth and not in space yet.

  22. Mattie (8th grade) September 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same becasue the ISS is constantly moving at the same rate as the astronauts around the earth and he is not so he will weigh the same. Tha astronauts aren’t weightless they are just in constant motion will a weaker gravitational poll than earth.

  23. Preston September 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    He would wiegh slightly more because of the hypothetical mountain, but otherwise he would weigh 150 lbs.

  24. Valencia September 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    I think he would wheigh 120 puonds on space

  25. Riley S September 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    I belive he would weight a little less because he is still in the peak of gravity, so I think his weight would be 138- 149

  26. Gwen September 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    I believe he would be the same weight, 50 pounds, because he isn’t in zero gravity.

  27. Ashton Osborne September 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    I believe that he would weigh the same because he is still on the earth but he may weigh slightly more because of all the pressure.

  28. Samantha H September 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I think he will weigh more because of the gravitational pull, it could make him weigh more.

  29. Anonymous September 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I think 123Ibs because he has to lose weight because he’s high on a mountain.

  30. Diffey September 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I think because he is in imagination land he will be his original weight (150 lbs). I think this because if he was in space my hypothesis is that he will be 50 lbs. but since he isn’t in space he would be 150. My reason for the hypothesis in space is because i think in my mind that the gravitational pull would take off 1/3 of your weight. I have no reason why i think that I just do.

  31. Anonymous September 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    I think 123Ibs because he has to lose weight because hes high on a mountain and you have to lose wait.

  32. Abby V. September 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    He would wheigh the same because hes on the mountain and not in space and gravity only changes when your in space

  33. Nancy September 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    He would weigh the same (150 pounds) because he’s on the mountain and not in the space.

  34. Hawwa September 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    I believe he would stay the same because he is still on Earth and not in space so he would still have the same gravitation he has on Earth.

  35. Abby W September 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    I belive he would weigh 75 pounds which is half of his weight.

  36. Riley September 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    I think you would weigh about 90lbs.

  37. Dakota September 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    I think that he would be just a little less because he is still on Earth but kind of in space so maybe just a little lighter than he already was.

  38. Abigail W September 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    I think he would a weigh a 100. You would weigh 25 on the moon and since you are still pretty close to the eartn it would be like 100.

  39. Sydney P. September 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I believe that his weight would be 100 pounds since the gravitational pull would lesson the farther away you got from Earth and the ISS is only 250 miles from Earth

  40. Taryn September 20, 2017 at 9:01 pm #

    He will weigh the same, just on higher ground.

  41. Emma B. September 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same because he is just higher up and that will not affect your weight ❤️

  42. Emma September 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same because he is just higher up and that will not affect your weight

  43. Emma September 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

    I think he will weigh the same because your weight doesn’t change because of how high you are

  44. Ayden M September 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    I think he will way nothing because if that space station is in space and people are floating around and he is in space he should float around like the rest the people in the station

  45. Ayden M September 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    I think he will not weigh anything because everyone in the station is floating around when they pass by he would have to float around also.

  46. Mackenzie .H September 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    In my opinion I think you would be a little less than 150 like 145 or 130 because in space or high up in the air you feal like there is no weight pushing down on your body,and it will be cold up in the air, also I have heard that sometimes the cold air makes you lose some weight on your body, so I think you will some weight less than 150.

  47. Jayden H. September 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    I think that he would weigh the same. I think this because although he is way higher in the air he still would weight the same, because the only thing changing is gravity witch doesn’t affect his weight.

  48. Rafael September 21, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    I think that he will just weigh a little less because he is barely in space but if he was deep in space he would weigh very little.

  49. Lola September 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    I think that it will stay the same if you are already on land, it will not effect the way that you weigh, because you are still standing on land, which makes the weight of you the same as you are now.

  50. Anonymous September 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    I think that he would be the same weight because if he is on Earth he will just be the same because he is still on the Earth and he would still be in gravitational pull so I do believe that he would be the same .

Leave a Reply

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 DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are 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.