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Spacesuits.

On May 5, 1961, a spacesuit successfully carried the first American, Alan Shepard, on his venture into outer space. The suit was improved and refined and by June 3, 1965, Ed White became the first American to venture out of his capsule and "walk in space." For half an hour, he rolled and tumbled in space, protected only by his spacesuit. A long, thin tether cord provided him with oxygen, communications, and a safety line to his ship. Since then, the spacesuit has greatly evolved into the state-of-the art suit worn by current Space Shuttle crew members. Today's spacesuit is not just clothing, it is in reality a one-person functioning spacecraft!

The spacesuit today is referred to as the EMU (Extra-vehicular Mobility Unit). It is worn by astronauts when they leave the Shuttle for EVAs (Extra-vehicular Activities) such as conducting experiments, doing repairs, or taking photographs. The environment of space is extremely hostile to humans. The temperature varies between 120[degrees] C to minus 100[degrees] C. The air pressure is so low that without the spacesuit bubbles would form in the astronauts' blood, air would rush out of their lungs, their skin would expand like an inflating balloon, and deprived of oxygen, they would be unconscious in about 15 seconds. The spacesuit must also protect the astronauts from radiation and from micrometeroids and space debris that are zooming around outer space at very high speeds.

Today's spacesuits cost about 2 million dollars. They are all modular, which means the astronauts can select the parts that best fit them. This results in a cost-savings and allows the parts to be used again and again. Prior to this, spacesuits had to be custom-made and usually ended up as museum displays. The spacesuit consists of 12 layers with many parts. It is designed to withstand temperature variations, compensate for low air pressure, provide protection from micrometeroids and other dangers, and medically monitor the astronaut. It also provides food, water, insulation, oxygen, and communications equipment, and maintains a cooling and ventilation system. The suit weighs about 113 kg (250 lbs.) on Earth, but in the microgravity of space it is almost weightless.

Preparations for an EVA or "spacewalk" begin at least 24 hours before the actual event, when the cabin pressure of the Shuttle is reduced. About an hour before the EVA, the astronauts begin to breathe pure oxygen. Both of these procedures help remove nitrogen that would form bubbles in the astronauts' bloodstream. Valle pre-breathing the oxygen, they begin to put on their spacesuits. One of the first parts to be put on is the UCD (Urine Collection Device) or DACT (Disposable Absorption and Containment Trunk). Next comes the important LCVG (Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment). This looks like long underwear with tubes running through it. The LCVG controls body temperature by circulating cooled water through the tubes. It also removes perspiration, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

The outer sections of the spacesuit consist of 2 main parts, the Lower Torso and HUT (Hard Upper Torso.) The Lower Torso which includes soft, flexible jointed pants with attached boots is put on first. The astronauts then push up into the HUT which is made of a hard fiberglass shell. The HUT contains a food bar, water, a small notebook, and wrist mirror for reading instruments on the front of their suits. They also put on a communications device referred to as a "Snoopy cap" that contains a microphone and earphones. Their gloves have specially designed silicone tips to aid in gripping objects. Testing is being done on adding fingertip heaters to the gloves. The helmet has a light bar attachment and place for an optional TV camera. The spacesuit also has a special backpack called a PLSS (Primary Life-Support System). This backpack provides all of the life support needed by the astronauts and monitors their medical condition.

Today, astronauts are able to move around freely in space. They do this through the use of the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) which looks like a "flying armchair." In the microgravity of space, it is extremely difficult to control direction. The MMU uses hand controls and bursts of nitrogen gas from 24 thruster nozzles to propel the astronauts in whatever direction they want to go.

The spacesuit is continuing to evolve. One of the missions of the Space Shuttle is to test new spacesuit equipment. Astronauts recently tested a new arm sleeve computer and a cooling system that could be turned off and on. The construction of the future International Space Station will rely on spacesuits that can keep astronauts comfortable for long periods of time, while working in the dangerous and inhospitable environment of outer space.

Picture Activity

Ask your students to describe the picture on the front page. Ask, "Where is this astronaut? What is next to WHY-FLY?" Tell them that the astronaut is in outer space, and WHY-FLY is by the Space Shuttle. This is the ship that astronauts use to travel into outer space. Ask what the astronaut and WHY-FLY are wearing to protect themselves in space. They are wearing spacesuits that provide oxygen for them to breathe. The spacesuit also helps keep them warm or cool, depending on where they are in space. It is very hot when they face the Sun and very cold when they are away from the Sun. It also protects them from little rocks zooming around in space. The spacesuit has a "flying armchair" attached to its back that help the astronauts move around in space.

Vocabulary

Have your students identify each person and then draw a line to its matching picture (astronaut, scuba diver, fire fighter, and football player). Discuss the different types of special clothing people wear to protect themselves. Ask what they would wear to protect themselves, if they were going out to play in the snow, the rain, or on a hot sunny beach.

Contest and Storytelling

See the Contest Information Box on the front page of the Teaching Notes. Have them tell a story about what they would see if they were an astronaut on a Space Shuttle Mission.

Challenge

You need: thick ski-type or heavy gardening gloves, a variety of small objects and tools (e.g., coins, buttons, simple tools like a pliers or wrench, Legos[R] or any small-sized manipulatives). Explain that gloves are a very important part of the spacesuit. They protect the astronaut's hands. Astronauts must be able to move their fingers easily when working in outer space, like when they use tools to repair equipment. After putting on the thick gloves, have your students try to pick up small objects, build with the Legos[R] and manipulate some simple tools. Real space gloves have rubberlike tips that help the astronauts grip objects.

Home Base

You need: a variety of clothing in different sizes that can be layered (starting with T-shirts, button-down shirts, socks, and sweaters to adult-sized sweatshirts, sweatpants, boots, jackets, etc.) This activity can be done at home or in-class. Explain that spacesuits have 12 layers that help protect the astronaut. Have them put on enough layers so their flexibility is limited, but they are still comfortable. It takes lots of practice for astronauts to learn to move around and work in their spacesuits.

Weekly Lab and Weekly Problem

You need: scissors. Have your students cut out the astronaut and the spacesuit parts. The astronaut can be glued to cardboard for firmer backing. Tell your students that the 1st part of the spacesuit an astronaut puts on is something that looks like long winter underwear, but has lots of tubes running through it. The tubes have cold water in them to keep the astronaut cool. It is called a LCVG Liquid Cooling-and-ventilation Garment). The 2nd part that is put on is the soft, flexible bottom of the spacesuit. It is pants and boots together in one piece. It is called the Lower Torso. The 3rd part that is put on is the HUT (Hard Upper Torso). The astronaut has to wiggle and twist to get into this, because it is hard and fits very snugly. The 4th part to be put on are the gloves, and then the helmet is 5th. (Explain that there are many other parts to a spacesuit) A spacesuit is not just clothing, it is really a one-person spacecraft that the astronauts use when they go outside the Shuttle! Tell them to use the words - first, second, third, etc. when they show the spacesuit parts to theirfamilies tonight. You can also have them glue the parts directly onto the astronaut. To reinforce ordinals, have your students line up in groups of 4 or 5. Ask the 1st person in each line to raise their hand. Ask the 3rd person to touch their toes, the 5th person to turn-around, etc.

Level A

Main Concepts and Picture Activity: See TN Level Pre-A.

Vocabulary

Have your students contribute to a class list of "space" words. Write their suggestions on the board. As an extension, have them name as many words as they can that begin with "sp."

Contest and Writing for Science

See the Contest Information Box on the front page of the Teaching Notes. Have them write a story about who they would like to take with them on the Space Shuttle. (Explain that NASA is in charge of the Space Program and all the astronauts.

Challenge

You need: thick ski-type or heavy gardening gloves, rubber kitchen gloves, knit gloves, a variety of small objects and tools (e.g, coins, buttons, blunt scissors, simple tools like a pliers or wrench, Legos[R] or any small-sized manipulatives). Explain that gloves are a very important part of the spacesuit. They protect the astronaut's hands. Astronauts must be able to move their fingers easily when working in outer space, like when they use tools to repair equipment. Have your students try to pick up small objects, build with the Legos[R] and manipulate simple tools using all 3 types of gloves. Have them try cutting a pattern out of a piece of paper. Ask, "Which gloves were easiest to use? Which were the most difficult?" Tell them that an astronaut's gloves are a lot like the thick ski-gloves, but have tips like the rubber kitchen gloves to help them handle and grip objects. They also wear soft inner gloves, like the knit gloves, for comfort.

Home Base

See TN Level Pre-A - HOME BASE.

Weekly Lab and Weekly Problem

See TN Level Pre-A - WEEKLY LAB. In addition, your students will be reading the rebus sentences that will tell the order in which an astronaut puts on the different parts of the spacesuit.

Level B

Main Concepts: Space contains many dangers for astronauts. Spacesuits help protect them.

Vocabulary

Review compound words with your students. Answers will vary (e.g., spacesuit, spaceship, outside, spacewalk, sidewalk).

Weekly Lab

For this activity, you will need clothing that can be easily layered ranging from children to adult sizes. Have them put on the thinner, smaller clothing first and end with an adult-sized sweatshirt or jacket. Button front shirts and sweaters are ideal. Have them put on enough layers so their flexibility is limited, but they are still comfortable. Explain that real spacesuits have 12 layers that help protect the astronaut. It takes lots of practice for astronauts to learn to move around and work in their spacesuits. Sometimes, they practice using their spacesuits underwater, because it is similar to what working in space will feel like. You can also have them try to sharpen a pencil, use some simple tools, or do some jumping jacks or somersaults while wearing their "spacesuits."

Weekly Problem

Have your students match these events to the dots on the time line. As an extension, have them count by 5's to 100.

Contest and Writing For Science

DO THIS LAST! See the Contest Information Box on the front page of the Teaching Notes. Also have them write a story about who (and why) they would like to take with them on the Space Shuttle. Ask if they know what NASA is. Explain that NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and is in charge of the Space Program and all the astronauts.

Challenge

Answer: D. Discuss what it must have felt like for Ed White as he took that first historic "spacewalk." Explain that today's astronauts no longer need to use a tether, like Ed White. Read WHY-FLY's box about the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) that allows today's astronauts to move around freely in space. Have them look back to the picture on the front page. Ed White's tether provided air, communications, and a safety line to his capsule. Today's spacesuits provide everything astronauts need to survive out in space. Explain that a spacesuit is not just clothing, it is really a complete one-person spacecraft! Ask them how many years ago was 1965.

Home Bare

Answer: 4. Wrist mirrors allow astronauts to see the controls on the front of their spacesuits that are out of their view. Have them try to write their names in mirror-image.

Level C

Main Concepts: Spacesuits protect astronauts from the dangers of outer space. The spacesuit consists of many layers and parts.

Vocabulary

Review compound words with your students. Answers will vary (e.g., spacesuit, spaceship, outside, spacewalk, sidewalk, boardwalk, outboard, etc.).

Weekly Lab

During launch. EVAs (spacewalks), and re-entry, astronauts use a (DACT) Disposable Absorption and Containment Trunk, which is like an adult pull-on diaper. (On EVAs, male astronauts wear a (UCD) Urine Collection Device.) The absorbent material in the diapers is usually made of Sodium Polyacrylate. This absorbent material changes from a dry cottony texture into a gel as it absorbs water. (9 Tbls. are approximate depending on the amount of material in their cups. Have them add spoonfuls of water, until the material can no longer absorb any more and a small pool of water remains on top.) To make this lab more visual, you can add yellow food coloring to the water before they measure it out. Several students can share a single diaper. Throw this material away. Do NOT dispose of it down a sink.

Weekly Problem

Answer: Space Shuttle. Do the first few together. Remind them that the 1st capital letters shows them how far to go up. The 2nd lower case letter shows them how far to go across.

Contest and Writing For Science

See TN Level B - CONTEST and WRITING FOR SCIENCE.

Challenge

Answer: WHITE. When astronaut White took his historic spacewalk, he was attached to a long tether which provided air, communications, and a safety line to his capsule. He spent half hour rolling and tumbling in space. Ask them to discuss how Ed White must have felt. Ask them how many years ago was 1965

Puzzle

Answer: 4. Bonus: See TN Level B - WEEKLY LAB.

Level D

Main Concepts: See TN Level C.

Vocabulary

Review compound words with your students. Answers will vary (e.g., spacesuit, spaceship, outside, spacewalk, sidewalk, boardwalk, outboard, starboard, starship, etc. .

Weekly Lab

See TN Level C - WEEKLY LAB. In addition, your students will be counting how many tablespoons they used. As an extension, have them work in small groups to see how much water a whole diaper holds. Pour this amount into a glass for a visual comparison.

Weekly Problem

Answers: Bluford - 1982, White - 1965, Armstrong - 1969, Ride - 1983, Shuttle repairs Hubble - 1993, Shepard - 1961.

Contest and Writing For Science

DO THIS LAST! See the Contest information Box on the front page of the Teaching Notes. Have them write a story about who (and why) they would like to have on their Shuttle crew. Ask what they think STS means on the patches shown. It stands for Space Transportation System followed by the mission number.

Challenge

Answer: 4. Have them try writing their names in mirror-image.

Puzzle

See TN Level C - WEEKLY PROBLEM. Bonus: See TN Level B - WEEKLY LAB.

Level E

Main Concepts: Astronauts leaving the Shuttle face many dangers in space. The multi-layered spacesuit is a one-person spacecraft designed to protect and provide for the needs of the astronaut.

Vocabulary

Answers will vary. For example: S - shuttle P - protect A - astronaut C - crew E - equipment S - strange U - upper torso I - icy T - temperature. Terms with more than 1 word can be used.

Weekly Lab

During launch, EVAs (spacewalks), and re-entry, astronauts use a (DACT) Disposable Absorption and Containment Trunk, which is like an adult pull-on diaper. (On EVAs, male astronauts wear a (UCD) Urine Collection Device.) The absorbent material in the diapers is usually made of Sodium Polyacrylate. This absorbent material changes from a dry cottony texture into a gel as it absorbs water. To make this lab more visual, add yellow food coloring to the water. Several students can share a single diaper. Throw this material away. Do NOT dispose of it down a sink. BONUS: This activity shows the difficulty astronauts face trying to move in the microgravity of space, when there is nothing to push off against. The MMU uses small jet thrusters to help propel them in any direction they want to go.

Weekly Problem

Answers: Bluford - 1982, White - 1965, Armstrong - 1969, Ride - 1983, Shuttle repairs Hubble - 1993, Shepard - 1961.

Contest and Writing For Science

DO THIS LAST! See the Contest information Box on the front page of the Teaching Notes. Have them write a story about who (and why) they would like to have on their Shuttle crew. Encourage them to research and find out about other Mission Patches. Ask what they think STS means on the patches shown. It stands for Space Transportation System plus the mission number.

Challenge

Your students will discover that the paper bag controls the size that they are able to blow up the balloon, and it will not expand any further. This is similar to the way the pressure bladder on the spacesuit prevents the astronaut's body from expanding. Remind your students to use care when working with balloons.

Puzzle

Answers: Pulse Rate before working 64 - 92 afterworking. After Clue 4, they will only be left with 48, 64, 68, 84, 92, 96. Clue 5 will eliminate 48, 84, and 96, leaving 64,68, and 92.

Level F

Main Concepts: See Level E.

Weekly Lab

For LAB A: See TN Level E - WEEKLY LAB. LAB B: This shows the difficulty astronauts face trying to move in the microgravity of space, when there is nothing to push off against. Astronauts use the MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) to move around in space. It has 24 nozzles that use nitrogen gas as thrusters to propel them in any direction. LAB C: Astronauts must be able to easily manipulate objects in space. For this activity, use very large, thick work or ski-gloves or 2 pairs of gloves on top of each other.

Weekly Problem

Answer: 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets. One space day equals 90 minutes (45 minutes of day + 45 minutes of night). A full 24 hour Earth day is 1440 minutes. 1440 minutes [divided by] 90 = 16.

Contest and Writing For Science

See TN Level E - CONTEST and WRITING FOR SCIENCE.

Challenge

Part A: Your students will discover that the paper bag controls the size they are able to blow up the balloon, and it will not expand any further. This is similar to the way the spacesuit's pressure bladder prevents the astronaut's body from expanding. Part B: The rubber bands make the balloon more flexible. This is how the jointed areas of the spacesuit work in providing flexibility. Remind your students to use care when working with balloons.

Puzzle

See TN Level E - PUZZLE.

RELATED ARTICLE: SCIENCE WEEKLY'S SPACE SHUTTLE PATCH CONTEST

Each Space Shuttle crew designs a patch to represent their Mission. For our contest, your students will have an opportunity to design their own patches. 100 winners (equally divided among all levels) will be chosen from the entries submitted. Each winner will receive a Surprise Prize!! PLEASE help your students fully complete their CONTEST ENTRY FORMS and mail them in. Photocopies will not be accepted. All winning patches will be sent to NASA. Encourage your students to join in the fun! Contents ends May 1st!

RELATED ARTICLE: Estimated Launch Dates for Upcoming Shuttle Missions

STS-76 Atlantis Late March 1996 10 day mission STS-77 Endeavour Mid-May 1996 10 day mission STS-78 Columbia June 1996 14 day mission

RELATED ARTICLE: Recommended Resources

* Butterfield, Moira. Look Inside: Cross Sections of Space. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994.

* Kerrod, Robin. Spacewalks. New York: W.H. Smith, Inc., 1985.

* Melton, Melanie. Will Black Holes Devour the Universe & 100 Other Questions & Answers About Astronomy. Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Books, 1994.

* Vogt, Gregory L. Suited For Spacewalking - EG-101. Houston: NASA, 1994 (also a poster with activites - WED-109).

* NASA Teacher Resource Centers (TRCs) provide educational materials, including videotape, publications, lesson plans, and software. For information about the Centers, contact NASA CORE (Central Operation of Resources for Educators) Lorain Co. Joint Vocational School, 15181 Route 58 South, Oberlin, OH 44074 (216)774-1051.

* For information on becoming an astronaut. write to the Astronaut Selection Office, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058.

RELATED ARTICLE: Materials Needed Ahead for Issue 11 - Auto Design

Pre-A, A - scissors, crayons, construction paper (milk carton,

shoe boxes, cardboard, paper fasteners - optional)

B - "building materials" as milk cartons, shoe boxes, large paper

cups, foil, straws, plastic wrap, paper fasteners, scissors, glue,

tape, etc.

C, D - same as above, plus sturdy cardboard for ramps (also for

D - meter or yardsticks, firm and light-weight cardboard, paper

clips, tape, magnets)

E, F - shoe boxes, milk carton, or similar containers, hard-boiled

eggs, materials to build safety restraints (e.g., tape, cotton,

ballons, string, straws, rubber bands, newspaper, etc.), sturdy

cardboard for ramps (also for F - meter or yardsticks)
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Title Annotation:Teaching Notes; background information on spacesuits for teachers and teaching activities for 'Level Pre-A' through 'Level D'
Publication:Science Weekly
Date:Jan 31, 1996
Words:3623
Previous Article:Weekly lab.
Next Article:Auto design.
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