Caring for the Environment in Space

The MondayTuesday GAP class had a fascinating presentation by Dr Doris Grosse today. Dr Grosse brought in a satellite to show us, and using a model rocket she built, she showed us how it launched into space. What was most surprising, however, was how much space junk was left behind in the process. Dr Grosse is working with other scientists to figure out how to clean up the environment… in space! We all agreed that was an important (and very cool) job!

Here is the rocket before launch. Of course, we liked seeing the European Space Agency logo on it! 🙂

To get a satellite up into space, we need a rocket to take it there. Here is our rocket on the GAP launch pad, ready for lift off. We all helped Dr Grosse to count down from ten (in German, of course), and then “blast off”!

To lift off, the rocket burns a lot of fuel, and that tumbles back down to Earth or goes into the atmosphere. This was simulated with crumpled paper dropping out of the bottom of the cylindrical rocket engines.

Look at all the burnt fuel from our rocket and the toxic chemicals that ended up in our beautiful blue ocean!

Then the rocket booster stages themselves are jettisoned and land in the ocean too.

Once the rocket gets up even higher, the nose cone, the second booster stage and the upper stage rocket body are released into space, where they remain in orbit. The satellite is put into its orbit around the Earth giving us data and communications.

We learned that satellites are very handy, as they allow us to video chat with Oma and Opa in Deutschland over Skype or Whatsapp, for example.

We all helped Dr Grosse to find and pick up all the space junk created by our launch and clean it away. Just like on Earth, if everyone helps, we will keep our environment nice and clean.

The photo at the very top of the blog shows a double cube satellite, with some sample electronics in it. We had a closer look at that tiny satellite, and the children wondered if we could also use it to find aliens…

We love having parents visit us at GAP and telling us about their work or hobbies. Let the teachers know if you’d like to come in!