To All Student Researchers Now Engaged in SSEP Mission 13 to ISS – A Challenge for the Start of Program: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?


To all SSEP Mission 13 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 13 to ISS – School District #69, Qualicum, British Columbia, and the Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton, Alberta. 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 13 to ISS Community Program Directors: this Challenge is covered as part of the program start Skype for your community’s Local Team of Mission 13 educators. These Skypes are being conducted by SSEP National Program Director Dr. Jeff Goldstein through Friday, September 28, 2018.

This blog post is for teachers in the 38 communities across the U.S., Canada, and Brazil that just started SSEP Mission 13 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 13 students across the U.S., Canada, and Brazil 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 Friday, September 21, 2018. 

 

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 the astronauts are floating around.

The Space 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 the 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, 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 the astronauts, 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 Friday, September 21, 2018, 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 21, 2018.

 


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.

51 Responses to To All Student Researchers Now Engaged in SSEP Mission 13 to ISS – A Challenge for the Start of Program: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?

  1. Teriana C. September 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    I think you would weigh the same on Earth as in Micro-Gravity because you would just FEEL weightless but you still weigh the same.

  2. Anonymous September 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    I suppose you would be a bit lighter at the top of Jeff’s Peak but not much, as in 5-15 lbs. at most. See, gravity will take a small toll on your weight but not that much. This is simply because the earth’s gravity has a radius of about 3958.756 miles, and since you have said that Jeff’s Peak is only 260 miles high I don’t think it will make you much lighter.

  3. Caliyah H September 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    I think you would weigh the same. Because gravity is pulling you down when your a the bathroom scale, you will weigh, well, 150. And when your on the mountain, your still in earth’s range so therefore, you will still weigh 150 even a the mountain.

  4. Jared O. September 19, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

    I think you will weigh 100 pounds because you are not fully in space your just super high because in space your weightless but on a mountain there is still some gravity

  5. Justin P September 19, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

    I believe that if you are 150 pounds you will be the same amount. I believe my statement because if there’s micro gravity you are the same from earth but it a scale will say your not.

  6. Denise C September 19, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

    I think that you will weigh the same but you will feel weightless. And I think that because there is no place that you are weightless. Because if you are in earth’s orbit you will weigh the same but if you in space you will feel weightless but you are not.

  7. Eden L September 19, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    In my opinion, his weight on Jeff’s peak would be the same from his weight in his bathroom. I think this because, the amount of gravitational pull determines your weight. In spaces atmosphere there is micro gravity, which gives the weightless feeling. Even though you feel weightless from the micro gravity, you way the same.

  8. Alexa September 19, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    I think you will weigh the same (150 lbs) because gravity controls your weight. If you are in space you still weigh the same it just doesn’t feel like it. So if you are on the top of a mountain you will still weigh the same because there is still gravity there.

  9. Kate A. September 19, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    If you weigh 150 pound on your bathroom scale at home, you would weigh the same on your mountain. You would weigh the same because you are still in earth’s gravitational pull. If you are anywhere in earth within the gravitational pull then you would weigh the same because gravity is what makes your weight.

  10. Adrianna F September 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

    What will you weigh at the top of the mountain. I think you will be the same weight because it doesn’t matter if your in space you will still be 150 pounds but it just won’t feel like it.

  11. Mylee September 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

    I believe that his weight once reached the top of Jeff’s Peak would be no weight. Why I think the person who’d reach the top of Jeff’s Peak would have no weight is because there would be no gravity. No gravity would cause no weight, but you still have that weight you just can’t feel it.

  12. Felix September 19, 2018 at 12:06 pm #

    I believe that his weight once on top of jeffs peak would be nothing whatsoever because. Like it said in the beginning of the blog they talk about weightlessness and how there’s no gravity. So with no gravity he would weigh nothing at all.

  13. Rhiannon P September 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    I think you would way the same because you would still be in earths gravatoishonal pull….. if the moutin was out of earths grate reach you would be wait less…..

  14. Angelo v September 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    If you are on top of a mountain on top and you feel weightless. Well you feel weightless but you are not. You will still be 150 pounds. Nothing will change how high you are.

  15. Joseph f September 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

    You would still be the same weight and you will still be 150 lbs, the way you will feel is different it would feel like you weigh 0 lbs, so you will still be 150 lbs.

  16. Billy h September 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

    You would still be the same weight and you would still be 150 lbs, the way you will feel is different, it would feel like

  17. Miguel September 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

    Do you know if you go to Mount Everest your weight changes because of gravity I think that it will real the same just that you don’t feel. In space there is zero gravity in space it doesn’t mean that your weight changes I thing you way the same but you don’t feal it because the pressure is different.

  18. Victoria B September 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    If your weight is 150 pounds, you would still weigh 150 pounds on your mountain. Jeff’s peak Isn’t out of the earths atmosphere. You might be on a tall mountain, but your still on earth. Even a space shuttle might be out of earths atmosphere, but its still in earths gravitational pull. The pull is just weaker than it is on the planet. So you would just weigh the same weight that you did on your bathroom floor.

  19. David B September 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    I believe that if you weigh one hundred fifty pounds on your bathroom scale I think you’d be around ten to twenty pounds. I think this because you are technically around 260 miles from the earth so that means your mass should be around nothing because you are around a space station but that doesn’t mean your’e weightless because you still aren’t entirely in space. So that is why I believe you should be around ten to twenty pounds.

  20. Anonymous September 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

    I think that your weight is going to be less than 150 becuse you are almost out of earths gravety. That is why i think you will weight less on the mounten Jeff’s Peak.

  21. Edward H September 19, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

    I think you will way differently than when your home because if the austrinauts are floating around then why aren’t you floating with them? The altitude is higher on a mountain and the higher the altitude the more harder it is to breath and you get out of earths orbit and the low gravity adventure begins.

  22. Liam C. September 20, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    I think you would weigh the same, but you won’t feel the same weight.

  23. joey kybghn September 20, 2018 at 10:59 am #

    I think you would weigh around 100

  24. Taco Cat September 20, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    I think you’ll be a few pounds lighter because of slightly less gravity and you probably lost a good few pounds climbing up the mountain

  25. yaaaaaaaaa September 20, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    I think you will weigh around 100 because you are barely in Earth’s gravity field.

  26. mysterious girl person September 20, 2018 at 11:03 am #

    I think you will weigh 100 because of less gravity and you lost weight going up Jeff’s Peak.!

  27. purple elephants rule September 20, 2018 at 11:03 am #

    I think your weight will be less than others!

  28. Anonymous September 20, 2018 at 11:04 am #

    about 118 pounds maybe, because

    1. he probably lost a bit of weight climbing such a tall mountain

    2. he’s not that far into orbit so he probably only lost a bit

  29. spacey mcgirl September 20, 2018 at 11:05 am #

    he would’ve been about 120 lbs. because he could’ve lost some weight climbing up &a tiny bit scince hes so high

  30. Emiliya N September 20, 2018 at 11:41 am #

    You would weigh the same but, you would feel lighter, because there isn’t as much gravity as there is on the solid ground.

  31. Roman k September 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

    I thought was is you or weight does not make a different if you on a bathroom weight measurer and if you are in space it the same most people think that you are lighter in space but you just no gravty so you think you are lighter but you not.

  32. MekenzieB September 20, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

    I think you would weigh different because you would be floating and your body won’t stay put like ur body won’t stay on the ground because your free falling and you won’t go down you’ll keep going up

  33. Landon H September 20, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

    I think you weight the same because you are not free falling

  34. Shiloh G. September 20, 2018 at 3:42 pm #

    I think you weigh 140 because,when we were talking about weightlessness and we said that you may think that you have no weight but you actually weigh 10 pounds less.

  35. Tristin September 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm #

    So if you are in space say you weigh 100 pounds you weigh closely to 90 to 95 pounds.

  36. Kevin H September 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm #

    I think you weigh less because you are top of a mountain.

  37. Corbin W September 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    I think you weigh less because if u are in space there is less gravity so you free fall so that makes you weigh less.

  38. Nayeli S September 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    I think you weigh 140 because earth still has a gravity effect on the space station.you weigh 10 pounds less in space.

  39. Destinie S. September 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    I think you weigh about the same because on earth you way way about 105 and in space the thing that weight you it will float but when you step on it and it goes down it will give you your weight and to not float up you need to grip onto something for it to calculate your weight.

  40. Kaya.t. September 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    Kaya.t.

    I think you weigh a little bit less because if you weigh 100 pounds you weigh 10 pounds less then what you Actually weigh.

  41. Angelic C September 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

    I think you weigh very little because space has microgravity so you will weigh 90% less than what you did on Earth.

  42. Isaiah M September 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

    I think you will weigh the same because on the mountain the earths gravitational pull is still keeping you down so you will have the same weigh.

  43. Myah s September 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

    I think he will weigh the less than he was in his bathroom for instance you weigh 10 percent less than what you weigh on Earth at the same time 90 percent of what you weigh in space which means you will have micro gravity.

  44. Lilly P September 20, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

    I think you will way less because there is not all of the gravity that there is on Earth because there is microgravity so if you way 150 on earth than you will way 140 in space. Because you are still in Earth’s gravitational pull

  45. Erick o September 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    I think you weigh 10% less because in the earth the atmosphere you weigh a little less
    And Because earth is not pulling you that much

  46. Julian G September 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    I think you weigh 10% less because you in space and the gravity making you float and your and gravity is not pulling you down and putting its not putting pressure on your body.

  47. Jowil V September 20, 2018 at 3:55 pm #

    I think you weigh very little because in space you weigh less.

  48. Karen.s. September 20, 2018 at 3:56 pm #

    I think you weight the same but you just feel Weightless because you will lose 10% less up in space.

  49. Thomas b September 20, 2018 at 3:56 pm #

    I think you weigh 45 because how high you are.

  50. N.O September 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

    I think you weigh 44 pounds because if you were on a mountain that big and high i eastmate it would be 44.

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.