Day 4 - December 3
Today, Joseph Tanner and Carlos Noriega, two American astronauts, perform the first of three space walks. They will be working very hard to install P6 to the International Space Station (ISS) (see day 3 for more information). Once the structure is in place, they will hook up the cables, which will be providing the main electrical current to the Station. Measuring 70 metres (m) wide and 10 m long, the solar panels will be deployed by Marc Garneau with help from... his portable computer! It takes 15 minutes (min) for each panel to be deployed; once they are installed, they will be ready to provide the Station with its first 18 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. Yeah!
During the space walks or "extravehicular activities" (EVAs), Marc will guide the astronauts from his post within the shuttle - a task called "intravehicular activity" (IVA). His duties include the co-ordination of the space walks, helping the astronauts who are performing the EVAs to keep their heads, as well as making sure that nothing is forgotten. "I will remind them where to go, what to do, which tools to use and when they must come in," adds Marc. He is also EVA back up, in case one of his colleagues is unable to perform all the work needed.
Questions / Answers
What is a photovoltaic cell?
A photovoltaic cell is a solar cell, a device that directly converts the sunlight into electricity.
What are the dimensions of a solar panel?
It all depends. A solar panel can be very tiny or, as it is the case of the Space Station (ISS), very large. Once completed, the Station will be powered by four sets of solar panels that will measure 70 metres (m) long by 10 metres (m) wide.
How many solar panels will be installed by the STS-97 crew?
The STS-97 crew will install one set of solar panels. In total, the Station will be powered by four such sets.
When was the first element of the International Space Station (ISS)?
The Russian module Zarya, which means "sunrise" in Russian, was launched in space November 20, 1998 from Russia onboard a Proton rocket.
Why is Earth the only planet of the solar system to be inhabited?
Because water is a crucial element to sustain life and Earth is the only planet that has a surface temperature permitting water to stay in a liquid state.
Also available: The list of all questions of the Space 2000 Project
Mission: Sun Contest
What does the expression "light-year" mean?
It's a way of measuring distance in space. A light-year is the distance light travels in space in one year – approximately 9,461,000,000,000 kilometres (km)! Wow!
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