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December 11, 2017
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The Enigma Force
Produced by: Julian Vignoles
Scientists have spent years developing models for how the human body reacts and adjusts to different gravity environments. Depending on whether it's the earth's gravity, lunar gravity or Martian gravity, body systems like circulation, digestion and balance behave differently. Now NASA is experimenting with artificial gravity, devising methods to recreate the earth's gravity in space. By being able to exercise in a "normal" environment via centrifugal force, it is predicted that astronauts' bodies will not suffer as much from the problems of zero gravity. This is known as Gravity Transferance Therapy, and there are a myriad applications. For example, if it's possible to simulate the gravity of Mars in space travel, future colonists will be able to adjust to the gravity environment en route to that planet. Similarly, on the way back, they can transfer to the earth's environment. At the Johnson Space Center in Houston, plans are underway for Trans-Hab, an inflatable working, living and sleeping habitat that simulates different gravity environments. In the meantime, though, they're still doing it the old-fashioned way. The infamous Vomit Comet is a NASA KC-135 aircraft that simulates zero gravity in a series of steep parabolas at 35,000 feet. It's where future astronauts get their first stomach-wrenching exposure to weightlessness -- and where lucky science students get to try out weird and wonderful experiments while walking on the ceiling.

Resources

Links:
Fieldtrip to Mars
lesson plans, links,information, activities

Young Scientist Challenge
Enter the Discovery Channel

Amazing Space
set of web-based activities primarily designed for classroom use, but made available for all to enjoy

Ask an Astronaut
website offering direct access with the men and women who have flown in space

Too Cool for Grownups
the power of the internet into the classroom

NASA For Kids
online science playground

A Guide to NASA's Education Programs
K-12 and Higher Education

The Challenger Center for Space Science Education

Bill Nye The Science Guy

U.S. Space Camp
program of astronaut training for young people

NASA's Neurolab

NASA's Neurolab
Learn about the research done in the Neurolab, and quiz yourself on Neurolab trivia.

Books:
An Equation That Changed the World
An account of the imaginary meeting and converasation of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and a modern physicist. Explains relativity theory and its effect on modern science in a non-technical, engaging way.

Gravitation and Inertia
Covers Einstein's geometric theory of gravity as revealed in his Theory of General Relativity. Comprehensive, but technical.

Gravity: Simple Experiments for Young Scientists
Explains the basics of gravity and includes projects that illustrate the principles of gravity for elementary-schoolers.

The Life of Isaac Newton
A thorough and accessible, if somewhat scientific, account of Newton's life and work.

The Riddle of Gravitation
A nontechnical book that explains the major concepts of Newton's and Einstein's gravitational theories. Also offers brief overview of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.

Programs by Julian Vignoles



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