Humans are affected in many different ways during space travel. Participants will be examining the physiological problems of space travel including those that affect the heart, muscle and bones as well as perception and vestibular problems. The participants will explore the anatomy of the brain and learn the various structures in the brain involved in the physiological responses to space travel. In addition, the participants will examine structures in the brain related to cognition because students may know that astronauts need to be in good physical shape, however they may not be aware of the psychological toll of space travel.
The impact of stress and cognitive impairment during space travel are important areas of research for NASA because they are important factors in the success of a mission Some stress factors in space travel have been clearly identified from short term space travel. The physical dimensions of the capsule create issues of crowding and lack of personal space. Daily contact with only a few individuals in an unchanging environment causes isolation and tension. There are also the chronic difficulties of space life that add up to emotional turmoil. These include limited light, excessive noise and vibration from machinery, difficulty in venturing outside the capsule and accumulation of garbage. Adding the pressure of accomplishing mission goals means that the astronaut must be mentally prepared for space travel. Short, one-week missions are difficult enough. As NASA prepares to send astronauts on a two-year journey to Mars, inventing ways to minimize the psychological stresses of space travel has become even more important.
The first step will be for the students to become familiar with forecast meteograms, which are time-sequenced graphical representations of various weather parameters. While there may well be other weather factors that must be considered in the “real world,” we will limit our efforts to those available on the meteogram. In doing this, students will be exposed to such concepts as universal (Greenwich) time and using symbols to depict weather phenomena.
Water is cleansed by nature as it moves through the water cycle. This process supplies the planet with a continuous supply of clean, pure water. The water cycle is the process that removes water from the earth’s surface through evaporation and returns it back to the Earth again in the form of precipitation. Water is a renewable resource that means that it can be used but it can't be used up. This sounds as though we have plenty of water on Earth, but this is not exactly the case.
The astronauts living aboard the International Space Station will have to recycle most of the water that is used. The recycling system on the ISS will make use of physical and chemical processes to remove contaminants from the water. Even the liquid in the astronaut’s urine will be recycled using the process of distillation.
In this program there will be a lab to clean or purify the water that has passed through the soils. Students will continue with ideas about how to filter water faster through soils and other forms of filtration to include a water treatment plant. One day in this program will be a field trip to a water treatment plant.