Exploring New Worlds in Space - Celebrating World Space Week - Vol.4 #3

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison

Starting on October 4, World Space Week begins and will continue through October 10. There are over 2,700 events in 86 countries where people will come together to learn and celebrate the "contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.” This year's theme is "Exploring New Worlds in Space." It is set to focus on missions like New Horizons, in which NASA will attempt to reach Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. It will also focus on engineering triumphs like Lockheed Martin's Orion Crew Vehicle, that will hopefully have the ability to transport people for the purpose of deep space explorations of new worlds. For more in formation on World Space Week and for a list of events closest to you, visit the World Space Week website.

Here is a short list of items that we can thank NASA for!

  • Artificial limbs

  • Baby formula

  • Cell-phone cameras

  • Computer mouse

  • Cordless tools

  • Ear thermometer

  • Firefighter gear

  • Freeze-dried food

  • Golf clubs

  • Long-distance communication

  • Invisible braces

  • MRI and CAT scans

  • Memory foam

  • Safer highways

  • Solar panels

  • Shoe insoles

  • Ski boots

  • Adjustable smoke detector

  • Water filters

  • UV-blocking sunglasses

NASA did not design the first water filter. A simple filter was used back in 500 b.c called the Hippocratic sleeve. NASA did, however, improve on them in the 1970's when they partnered up with Umpqua Research Company (URC). This small, american company developed a cartridge that was able to purify the Space Shuttle's water supply by using iodine instead of chlorine. When astronauts began staying in space for longer periods of time at the space station, for example, they needed to improve their water filtration technique. URC developed another system that they use at the International space station called the Regenerable Biocide Delivery Unit.


Let's Build a Water Filtration System!

We are very fortunate that clean water is readily available to us, where as in other parts of the world it is not! Let's teach our children the importance of clean water, by building a water filtration system using simple materials. Here are some materials you will need:

  • 1 liter of water prepared in advance with soil and sand in it until it is thin but relatively opaque

  • 3 test tubes prepared with the water standards "A," "B" and "C" (C is filtered through some grass, B is filtered through a coffee filter, and A is filtered through 2 coffee filters with a paper towel in the middle)

  • cotton balls

  • gauze squares

  • tulle/netting

  • tissue

  • paper towels

  • coffee filters

  • gravel (aquarium gravel works great)

  • sand

  • 3 test tubes per student

  • test tube racks


You can find a full description of this activity at Teach Engineering website!

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