Day 11 - Decmeber 10
Today the crew cleans up and goes through the last preparations for the landing scheduled for tomorrow evening, December 11. So you see, even astronauts have to clean up!
To return to Earth, the Shuttle spins head over tail an hour before landing. Thirty minutes (min) later the Shuttle loses altitude and enters the atmosphere belly first. The astronauts feel two to three times their weight on Earth (a pencil would feel three times heavier). Because of drag (air friction), the ceramic tiles which cover the bottom of the Shuttle heat up and turn red without burning (so they can be reused). The Shuttle is not a glider so it falls faster than a regular plane would. It slows down by spinning and finally lands, more softly than a plane, on the track.
Questions / Answers
How far is the Sun from the Earth?
The Sun is 150 million (M) kilometres (km) from the Earth - not exactly next door! It looks so big and luminous because it's much nearer Earth than the other stars. Do you know how far the next nearest star is from the Earth? 40,000 billion (M) kilometres (km)!
How long does it take for a particle of energy to reach the Earth?
It takes about 8 minutes (min) for a particle of energy to reach the Earth. The Sun is 150 million(M) kilometres (km) from the Earth. Light travels at a speed of 300,000 kilometres (km) per second (or 18 million (M) kilometres (km) per minute (min)). So if you divide 150 million (M) kilometres (km) by 18 million (M) kilometres (km) per minute (min), you get approximately 8.3 minutes (min).
What revolves around the Sun?
The height planets in the Solar System (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) revolve around the Sun.
What is gravity?
The Earth exerts a force of attraction that keeps objects and people attached to its surface. Objects fall toward the Earth because the force of gravity attracts them. For example, if you throw a ball up to the sky, it falls back down to Earth (or into your hand!) We owe it all to gravity.
Can you name three similarities between the Earth and the International Space Station (ISS)?
Here are three similarities – if you can find any others, please let us know and we'll add them to the list along with your name.
- Just as you sleep, eat and go to school on Earth, astronauts sleep, eat and work on the International Space Station (ISS) – which is like a small planet Earth!
- On Earth, plants, animals and humans all need the energy they get from the Sun. It is the same on board the Space Station. The Sun provides the energy for lighting and heating the Space Station; it also powers all the different systems on board.
- The various parts of the Space Station are insulated by a heat shield that provides protection from extreme temperature shifts. The Earth has its own heat shield – the ozone layer, which provides protection from the Sun's rays.
Also available: The list of all questions of the Space 2000 Project
Mission: Sun Contest
How far from the Earth is the Space Station?
400 kilometres (km).
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