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5 Questions from a Year of Education on the International Space Station

5 Questions from a Year of Education on the International Space Station


This year, we’re celebrating a Year of Education on the Station as astronauts and former teachers Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold have made the International Space Station their home. While aboard, they have been sharing their love of science, technology, engineering and math, along with their passion for teaching. With the Year of Education on the Station is coming to a close, here are some of the highlights from students speaking to the #TeacherOnBoard from across the country!

Why do you feel it’s important to complete Christa McAuliffe’s lessons?

“The loss of Challenger not only affected a generation of school teachers but also a generation of school children who are now adults.” Ricky’s personal mission was to bring the Challenger Mission full circle and give it a sense of closure by teaching Christa’s Lost Lessons. See some of Christa’s Lost Lessons here.

Have you ever poured water out to see what happens?

The concept of surface tension is very apparent on the space station. Fluids do not spill out, they stick to each other. Cool fact: you can drink your fluids from the palm of your hand if you wanted to! Take a look at this demonstration that talks a little more about tension. 

How does your equipment stay attached to the wall?

The use of bungee cords as well as hook and loop help keep things in place in a microgravity environment. These two items can be found on the space station and on the astronaut’s clothing! Their pants often have hook and loop so they can keep things nearby if they need to be using their hands for something else. 

Did being a teacher provide any advantage to being an astronaut?

Being an effective communicator and having the ability to be adaptable are great skills to have as a teacher and as an astronaut. Joe Acaba has found that these skills have assisted him in his professional development.  

Since you do not use your bones and muscles as often because of microgravity, do you have to exercise? What type can you do?

The exercises that astronauts do aboard the space station help them maintain their bone density and muscle mass. They have access to resistance training through ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) which is a weight machine and for cardio, there is a bicycle and treadmill available to keep up with their physical activity.

Learn more about the Year of Education on Station. 

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