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Compass - Questions and answers with David Saint-Jacques live from space

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Uploaded on January 31, 2019

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Compass - Questions and answers with David Saint-Jacques live from space

2019-01-31 - During an event with Saskatchewan students, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques answers the following question, live from the International Space Station:

“If you had a compass in space, what direction would it point?”

(Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

Transcript

Albert: If you had a compass in space, what direction would it point?

David Saint-Jacques: That’s a good physics question. As you know the compasses, they orient themselves along the magnetic field lines of the Earth. So the higher you go away from Earth, the weaker that field gets. Here on Space Station, we’re still inside the magnetic field effect, so a compass would roughly work still, but it would be just a bit weaker, the strength of the magnetic field. If you go far enough, for example if you’re on the Moon, then it doesn’t work at all anymore because the effect of the magnetic field of the Earth is too weak there. It depends how far you are from the Earth, but otherwise it’s the same as on Earth.

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