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Chris Hadfield on how math is used on the ISS


Uploaded on March 12, 2013


Chris Hadfield on how math is used on the ISS

2013-02-20 - Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield took part in today's NASA Social event, which featured a live video stream from the International Space Station to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. In this excerpt, he answers how math is used on Station. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)


Question: How doyou use math in space?


Unidentified Male: We use it all the time.

Chris Hadfield: Sorry, could you repeat the question, please? We didn't hear it?

Question: How do you use math in space?

Chris Hadfield: How do we use math in space? Gosh, we use it all the time. We use it for simple stuff. We grow when we come to space, so we actually have a place on the wall over here where we measure how much we grew, because our backbones stretch a little bit. We don't really grow, we just stretch because gravity's not squishing us. But we measure how tall we are.

We use math to try and find the spaceship when we fly up here to rendez vous and dock. And it's like a big triangle the whole time between the Earth and the other spaceship and us, and we're constantly doing the trigonometry, the Pythagorean theorem, the square of the hypotenuse and all that, to figure out where we're going to go next.

We use it just for calculating speeds and measures here. All the time we're emptying one tank. And filling up another tank, and some of the math is pretty complicated for a rendezvous. Some of it's very simple, just to see how tall we are today.


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