Celebration Education

May 17-21

5/11 Star Tours

http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/space/spaceports/index.php

http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/space/ares_testing_rockets/

Inquiries

Pretend you could have a conversation with R2-D2. What would you talk about? Write down the text of your dialogue.

What space exploration do you think should be made? Write a proposal to NASA, explaining where they should explore next and why. Make suggestions for accomplishing it.

Restate in your own words the story of Star Wars.

What Star Wars character do you like the most? Why? Write about it in your Wishes! Journal.

Make a flipbook of a rocket in space.

What space travel is going on right now? Document all the missions currently in progress and/or those that are planned.

What do you with you could know about space? Write down 5-10 questions. Email JPL to see if they know the answers to any of your questions. For the questions they don’t have the answers to, consider how you think those questions could be answered.

Pretend that you are going to apply to be an astronaut. Make the job application and fill it out.

Based on the space travel that has already been made, what do you think space travel will be like in 10 years from now? 25 years? 50 years? Write your thoughts in your Wishes! Journal.

Retell the story of Star Wars, except with the whole thing taking place under water.

Identify five different space vehicles. Who made them? What are they used for? Write about it in your Wishes! Journal.

Draw a spaceship that you wish you could pilot.

Play pretend with a friend. You are space heroes defending the universe against an evil empire.

Make an inventory of the equipment now orbiting the earth.

Views: 27

Replies to This Discussion

Space Travel

1. Balloon UFO's

2. History of Space Travel

3. Mars

4. Extremophiles

5. Messages to intelligent life

6. Wisher: Homer Hickam, Jr.

7. Blast off!

8. Relay race
Materials:

1.Mylar helium balloons
stickers
2.Poster, “rockets” with key points
3.Pictures of Mars, Rovers, Gamma Rays
bingo cards
bingo markers
4.pictures of extremophiles, extremophile environments, and potential aliens
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cubes sugar
1 quarter-oz package of yeast
1 empty half-liter plastic water bottle
1 nine or ten inch party balloon
1 cloth measuring tape
1 small funnel (optional)
cold water (optional)
hot orange juice (optional)
salty ice (optional)
salt (optional)
frozen yeast (optional)
5.alien message
blank paper
pencils
6.wisher poster
wither pictures
7.Lollipop Paint Shop containers
effervesce
water
8.paper cups




Space Travel

1. Balloon UFO's


---song---

---sharing---

2. History of Space Travel

3. Mars

4. Extremophiles

5. Messages to intelligent life

6. Wisher: Homer Hickam, Jr.

7. Blast off!

8. Relay race

1.
Helium UFOs

Have the students work together. Turn the balloon on its side. Either cut off the string or use a sticker to make it so that the string hangs from the center of the flat side of the balloon. Have the students apply stickers to the balloon to make it lay flat (UFO shape) and so that it will float in mid-air, neither up at the ceiling, or on the floor. The host may keep the balloon.

Materials: Mylar helium balloons, stickers


2.
History of Space Travel
Shoot the rockets off for the students to retrieve, read, and place on poster
Materials: Poster, “rockets” with key points

Some of this information comes from http://my.execpc.com/~culp/space/history.html , other information is from Wikipedia.

Introduce the three men on whose theories lie the foundation for space travel.

Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630)
was the German mathematician who, in 1609, figured out the equations for orbiting planets & satellites - that they move in ellipses (flattened circles). He gave three fundamental laws of planetary motion. His equations are used today for calculating orbits for satellites and planets. He also did important work in optics and geometry.

Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727)
English scientist and mathematician. in 1687 he wrote what is probably the single greatest intellectual achievement of all time, establishing the basic laws of force, motion, and gravitation and inventing a new branch of mathematics in the process (calculus). He did all this to show how the force of gravity is the reason that planet’s orbits follow Kepler’s equations.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935)
a Russian school teacher with a scruffy beard who, without ever launching a single rocket himself, figured out all the basic equations for rocketry in 1903. From his very broad and extensive reading, including Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon”, he concluded that space travel was a possibility, that it was in fact man’s destiny, and that rockets would be the way to pull it off.
He anticipated and solved many of the problems that were going to come up for rocket powered flight and drew up several rocket designs. He determined that liquid fuel rockets would be needed to get to space, and that the rockets would need to be built in stages (he called them "rocket trains"). He concluded that oxygen and hydrogen would be the most powerful fuels to use. He had predicted how, 65 years later, the Saturn V rocket would operate for the first landing of men on the moon.

"The earth is the cradle of mankind - one cannot remain in the cradle forever" -- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

For the remaining events, shoot them off one by one for the students to catch and add to the “contrails” of the rocket.



First Man Into Space – Yuri Gagarin
In 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space.


First American in Space
Alan Shepard
1961
Shepard later got to go to the moon and is remembered for being the only person to play golf on the Moon. His first shot only went a hundred feet, but his second shot sent the ball as he said "miles and miles."


First Man on the Moon
Neil Armstrong
In 1969, flew as commander of the Apollo 11 mission, and became the first man to walk on the moon.



The Space Shuttle is the United States government's current manned launch vehicle. It can carry up to eight people.

The first Space Shuttle launched in 1981.

Previous spacecraft could be used only once, but the Space Shuttles can be used over and over.

Sputnik 1 was the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite. It was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. The announcement of Sputnik 1's success ignited the Space Race.

By 2010 thousands of satellites have been launched into orbit around the Earth. These originate from more than 50 countries. A few hundred satellites are currently operational, whereas thousands of unused satellites and satellite fragments orbit the Earth as space debris.

Voyager 1 probe launched in 1977. It is currently still operational, making it NASA's longest-lasting mission. It has visited Jupiter and Saturn and was the first probe to provide detailed images of the moons of these planets.
Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object from Earth, traveling away from both the Earth and the Sun. It is now leaving our solar system.

Since 1960, countries have been sending equipment to study Mars. These have been orbiters, landers, and rovers.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004. They were Intended to last only three months, but both rovers have lasted for more than five years.




The International Space Station (ISS) is an internationally developed research facility that is being assembled in low Earth orbit. Construction of the station is scheduled for completion by late 2011. As the largest artificial satellite orbiting Earth, the ISS can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. The ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology.


SpaceShipOne is a rocket-powered aircraft that completed the first privately funded human spaceflight in 2004.
SpaceShipOne is the model for the SpaceShipTwo program, which is being developed for space tourism, as well as being available for suborbital space science missions.



3.

Mars bingo

Materials: bingo cards, bingo markers, clues




Phobos: The larger moon of Mars. The translation of the name means “fear”.
37
37: The number of minutes that the Martian day is longer than an Earth day.

Red Planet: The nickname of Mars. This nickname was given because of the red
dust that covers the planet and helps to give it its color.

1/2 Diameter: The size comparison of diameters (ratio) of Mars to Earth.

Mars Global Surveyor: The name of the spacecraft that began orbiting Mars in
1997.

Sojourner Truth: The name of the first rover on Mars, named after a Civil War
slave who helped other slaves become free. This rover was also the first rover sent
to another planet and rolled around on Mars for nearly three months. The rover
weighs 23 pounds, is 2 feet long, 11/2 feet wide, and 1 foot tall.
102

Mars Pathfinder: The name of the Mars mission that landed on Mars in 1997. There had not been a landing on Mars in 21 years, before this mission
successfully landed. The main objective of this mission was to test new ideas in
spacecraft engineering and to study the rocks.

Carbon Dioxide: The main component (over 95%) of the Martian atmosphere (air).

Viking Missions: The name of the Mars missions (2 orbiters and 2 landers) that
were sent to look for life on Mars in 1975-1976.
687
687: The number of Earth days that make a Martian year. Remember that a year is
the amount of time it takes a planet to travel all the way around the Sun. The
Earth has a year that is 365 1/4 days long. If you lived on Mars, you would be a
little older than 1/2 the age you are now.

Valles Marineris: The longest canyon system on Mars (and in the Solar System!)
This canyon is approximately 2500 miles long and reaches depth of nearly 3 to 6
miles deep in some places.

Olympus Mons: The largest volcano on Mars (and in the Solar System!).
Olympus Mons is 16 miles high (approximately 3 times as high as Mt. Everest -
Earth's tallest mountain) and would cover the same area as the state of Arizona!

Escape Velocity: The speed that any object must travel in order to escape the
gravitational pull of a planet.

Astronomical Unit: The measuring unit for distances in the Solar System. One
A.U. is equal to the mean distance from the Sun to the Earth (approximately
93,000,000 miles).

Polar Caps: These are located at the North and South Poles of Mars and are
composed of water ice and Carbon Dioxide ice.

Mojave Desert: This is where the FIDO rover was tested to see if the instruments and
software could operate correctly before the Athena rover (the rover that FIDO is being
tested for) was sent to Mars. Other places this rover is tested are: Hawaii and the Mars
Yard at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mars Sample Return Mission: The Mars missions that will be returning Mars rocks
samples (drill cores) and Mars soils to Earth.

Ares Vallis: The Mars Pathfinder landing site. Scientists think this is an area on Mars
that experienced a very large flood in its ancient history. Mars Pathfinder landed here in 1997.

Pancam: The name of the camera that on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. The name stands for panoramic camera.

NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Air Bags: The Mars Pathfinder used these to bounce into the Martian surface in 1997. This was called a passive style landing.

Teleoperation: The remote operation of a robotic device, such as a rover or science instrument aboard a spacecraft.

Deimos: The smaller moon of Mars. The translation of the name means “terror”.

An Image from TES: The Thermal Emission Spectrometer instrument on board the Mars Global Surveyor that is studying the minerals, rocks, and atmosphere of Mars.

FIDO: The prototype rover being tested to get ready for the Mars Return Sample
Missions. The initials stand for Field Integrated Design and Operations.




4.
Alien Life/Astrobiology/Extremophiles
organisms, usually single-celled, which can live in environments that would be considered extreme or hostile for most living organisms

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/AlienSafari/AlienSafari.html
http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/AlienSafari_508.html


http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/msad16mar99_1a/
Match extremophiles from earth with potential environments in the solar system.

Follow up with potential of life in our solar system – yeast experiment – have them work in groups.
For instructions, see http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/msad16mar99_1a/

The inflating balloon is proof that the yeast has lived through extreme conditions.

Materials: pictures of extremophiles, extremophile environments, warm water, sugar cubes, yeast, water bottle, balloons, optional items: measuring tape, funnel, cold water, hot orange juice, salty ice, salt, frozen yeast



Thermophiles: Bacillus Infernus
Found in Johannesburg, South Africa. These heat-loving bacteria can be found as deep as 2 miles underground.
Mars
Maybe life on Mars will be underground.
Hyperthermophile: Strain 121

First discovered 200 miles off the Washington coast in a hydrothermal vent. Can survive and reproduce at 250° F
Europa, one of Jupiter's moons
Europa's unlit interior is now considered to be the most likely location for extant extraterrestrial life in the Solar System. Life could exist in its under-ice ocean, perhaps subsisting in an environment similar to Earth's deep-ocean hydrothermal vents.











Methane Ice Worms
Found in methane ice in the Gulf of Mexico










Expands our idea of what environments can be habitable. Perhaps organisms can be found in environments previously thought to be too toxic for life.

Acidophiles

Found in Carlsbad, New Mexico in caves where acidity is equal to battery acid.

Venus - Some scientists speculate that the clouds of Venus could be a plausible habitat for microbial life. The clouds are highly acidic, but that wouldn't be a problem for acidophiles.




Deinococcus radiodurans is one of the most radioresistant organisms known. It can survive cold, dehydration, vacuum, and acid, and is therefore known as a polyextremophile and has been listed as the world's toughest bacterium in The Guinness Book Of World Records.

D. radiodurans was discovered in 1956 at the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Experiments were being performed to determine if canned food could be sterilized using high doses of gamma radiation. A tin of meat was exposed to a dose of radiation that was thought to kill all known forms of life, but the meat subsequently spoiled, and D. Radiodurans was isolated.


Mars – perhaps a polyestremophile could survive Mars' conditions, including radiation, cold, vacuum and dormancy.




5.
Communicating with aliens
If you were to send a message out into space, attempting to communicate with intelligent life, you could not use English. What message would you send?

The Arecibo message was beamed into space a single time (not repeated) in 1974. The message consisted of 1679 binary digits and was aimed at a star cluster some 25,000 light years away.

For more information on this message, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arecibo_message .

In groups, have the students color some lines of the message onto graph paper. Good sections for them to do would be the numbers, the solar system, or the telescope. They may also create their own message to send to the aliens.

materials: alien message in binary, alien message decoded, graph paper, plain paper, pencils



Arecibo message

00000010101010000000000001010000010100000001001000100010001001011001010101010101010100100100000000000000000000000000000000000001100000000000000000001101000000000000000000011010000000000000000001010100000000000000000011111000000000000000000000000000000001100001110001100001100010000000000000110010000110100011000110000110101111101111101111101111100000000000000000000000000100000000000000000100000000000000000000000000001000000000000000001111110000000000000111110000000000000000000000011000011000011100011000100000001000000000100001101000011000111001101011111011111011111011111000000000000000000000000001000000110000000001000000000001100000000000000010000011000000000011111100000110000001111100000000001100000000000001000000001000000001000001000000110000000100000001100001100000010000000000110001000011000000000000000110011000000000000011000100001100000000011000011000000100000001000000100000000100000100000001100000000100010000000011000000001000100000000010000000100000100000001000000010000000100000000000011000000000110000000011000000000100011101011000000000001000000010000000000000010000011111000000000000100001011101001011011000000100111001001111111011100001110000011011100000000010100000111011001000000101000001111110010000001010000011000000100000110110000000000000000000000000000000000011100000100000000000000111010100010101010101001110000000001010101000000000000000010100000000000000111110000000000000000111111111000000000000111000000011100000000011000000000001100000001101000000000101100000110011000000011001100001000101000001010001000010001001000100100010000000010001010001000000000000100001000010000000000001000000000100000000000000100101000000000001111001111101001111000

Arecibo message, organized 00000010101010000000000
00101000001010000000100
10001000100010010110010
10101010101010100100100
00000000000000000000000
00000000000011000000000
00000000001101000000000
00000000001101000000000
00000000010101000000000
00000000011111000000000
00000000000000000000000
11000011100011000011000
10000000000000110010000
11010001100011000011010
11111011111011111011111
00000000000000000000000
00010000000000000000010
00000000000000000000000
00001000000000000000001
11111000000000000011111
00000000000000000000000
11000011000011100011000
10000000100000000010000
11010000110001110011010
11111011111011111011111
00000000000000000000000
00010000001100000000010
00000000001100000000000
00001000001100000000001
11111000001100000011111
00000000001100000000000
00100000000100000000100
00010000001100000001000
00001100001100000010000
00000011000100001100000
00000000001100110000000
00000011000100001100000
00001100001100000010000
00010000001000000001000
00100000001100000000100
01000000001100000000100
01000000000100000001000
00100000001000000010000
00010000000000001100000
00001100000000110000000
00100011101011000000000
00100000001000000000000
00100000111110000000000
00100001011101001011011
00000010011100100111111
10111000011100000110111
00000000010100000111011
00100000010100000111111
00100000010100000110000
00100000110110000000000
00000000000000000000000
00111000001000000000000
00111010100010101010101
00111000000000101010100
00000000000000101000000
00000000111110000000000
00000011111111100000000
00001110000000111000000
00011000000000001100000
00110100000000010110000
01100110000000110011000
01000101000001010001000
01000100100010010001000
00000100010100010000000
00000100001000010000000
00000100000000010000000
00000001001010000000000
01111001111101001111000

6
Wisher: Homer Hickam, Jr.
(Based on the movie October Sky, which varies from)
materials: wisher poster, wither pictures

Wisher: Homer Hickam, Jr.

Wished for: Go to college

Hardships: Growing up in Coalwood, West virginia, there was not much opportunity to go to college. His family was poor and the only boys who seemed to make it to college were the ones who could earn football scholarships. Homer was not gifted in sports.

Magic: Having an interest in rocketry, he and his buddies started building and launching rockets. They entered their rocket design into a national science competition and won.

Success: Because of his success with the rockets, Homer was able to go to college. He went on to work for NASA, where he worked in spacecraft design and crew training. His specialties at NASA included training astronauts on science payloads, and extra-vehicular activities(EVA). He also trained astronaut crews for many Spacelab and Space Shuttle missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, the first two Hubble repair missions, Spacelab-J (the first Japanese astronauts), and the Solar Max repair mission. Prior to his retirement from federal service in 1998, Hickam was the Payload Training Manager for the International Space Station Program. He is also a bestselling author.








7
lollipop paint shop can rockets – newton's third law

Discuss Newton's Third Law of Motion:
III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
This law is exemplified by what happens if we step off a boat onto the bank of a lake: as we move in the direction of the shore, the boat tends to move in the opposite direction (leaving us face-down in the water, if we aren't careful!).

Demonstrate Newton's third law with the Rocket experiment:

Each student gets a canister with lid, plus a water bottle lid, and a packet of Picot.

1.fill the canister 1/3 full with water.
2.Place the Picot in the water bottle lid (do not need to use the whole packet).
3.Carefully set the water bottle lid in the canister so that it floats on the water.
4.Put the canister lid on securely. It will not work unless it's on right.
5.When ready, place the canister on the ground, lid side down. As the students place their rockets, have them yell out, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
6.Stand back. In about three seconds, the canister will fly 3' to 25' into the air. If it doesn't go right away, be patient. It will pop.

materials: canisters with lids, water bottle lids, water, Picot




8.
robot relay race:
Messages relayed to Mars Rovers take 20 minutes to get there, and another 20 minutes until the technician to know the results of the action.

This is a race of messages relayed.
Kinda like http://www.fi.edu/tfi/activity/space/sp-6.html
But it's just teams of two (one as robot, the other as technician), each with three cups. The robot in this case is blindfolded, so that they will literally obey the technician's commands, without interpretation. The goal is to make a 3-cup pyramid with two as the base, one on top. The technician will give the robot instruction in how to stack the cups. Instead of everyone going at once, each team will take turns telling the robot what to do. Only one command on each turn. The technician will need to wait until their next turn to correct any mistakes.

Materials: paper cups, blindfolds





Other ideas
astrobiology – what would you need in order to space travel?
http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/class_acts/LunarLifeSupport.html
Materials: Packing list, vocabulary cards

g-force
http://library.thinkquest.org/4116/Science/g_force.htm

Kids can learn about the theory of relativity by them doing their own experiment. They can do this by getting a bowl and putting some sera rap around the out side and putting a large marble in the middle and then making a smaller marble go around the larger one. That will explain how the fiber of space is then they can be shown how a worm hole works. Kids can also learn about light years and how long it might take to get from one place to another . Once the kids have this information they can get ready for a trip through space.

he kidz kan build a model spaceship or draw one.

black hole

treasure planet

http://scifiles.larc.nasa.gov/text/educators/activities/2001_2002/a...

construct a Saturn v rocket
http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/education/activities/active23a.htm




Preparing for space travel kids can can plot a course from earth to were ever. This can be done by the kids creating there own constellations .
Using Christmas lights, fluorescent markers or paint, mark the stars of Ursa Major on a bulletin board. Use string or chalk to draw the lines to connect the stars to form the constellation figure as you tell the story of the constellation (classical and Native American versions are available through your librarian). Repeat this procedure for Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, and Cassiopeia. After familiarizing students with the North Polar Constellations, use graph paper and coordinates to make the star patterns of each constellation.
Ursa Major: (M,37); (Q,34); (R,34); (U,33); (W,35); (Z,32); (X,30).
Ursa Minor: (R,17); (O,18); (N,20); (M,22); (K,22); (L,25); (N,25).
Draco: (B,33); (C,30); (E,32); (D,34); (B,24); (C,22); (F,24); (G,22); (G,28); (G,30); (I,31); (N,30); (R,27); (U,27).
Cepheus: (G,6); (E,10); (I,12); (J,8); (O,11).
Cassiopeia: (L,1); (K,4); (O,4); (S,5); (R,2).
Have the students transfer the star patterns onto white drawing paper and draw their own versions of the North Polar Constellations.
Small group activity:
Kids can learn about gravity by two kids holding hands and then spinning in a circle. Once they have done this , then they can discuss the effects that it has on their body. This is just one way of doing this. Here are some fun activities about gravity:
The Impossible Leap:
While standing up, bend over and hold your toes with your hands, keeping your knees slightly bent.
Try to jump forward in this position without removing your hands from your toes while you are jumping.
Can you do it? Bet you can't!
The Science:
In this position, you can jump backwards from one end of the room to the other, but you won't be able to jump forward even a single leap! When we jump, we first shift our center of gravity in the direction we want to jump, and then we move our support base in the same direction to regain our balance. When you are holding onto your toes, jumping backwards is not a problem because you can use your heels. But to jump forward, you would have to use your toes... and your fingers are in the way.
The Super Glue Chair:
Sit in a straight-back armless chair, keeping your back against the back of the chair and your feet flat on the floor.
Fold your arms across your chest.
Keeping your feet flat and your back straight, try to stand up.
Are you glued to your chair?
The Science:
In this sitting position, the center of gravity is at the base of your spine. By trying to stand up with your back straight, you prevent the center of gravity from moving to a position above your feet, which would be necessary to stand up. Therefore, you remain glued to your chair!
Pick Up Trick:
Place an object on the floor about 20 inches from a wall.
Stand with your back against the wall, feet together, and heels against the wall.
Try to pick up the object on the floor without moving your feet or bending your knees.
Can you do this? Bet you can't!
The Science:
There is no way you can pick up that object. When you stand straight against the wall, your center of gravity is over your feet. When you bend forward, you move your center of gravity forward. In order to keep your balance, you must move your feet forward, too. This makes sure that the center of gravity is right above your feet to maintain stability. Since the rules of this trick do not allow you to move your feet, there is no way to can make the balance shift so that the center of gravity is maintained over your feet. That is why you are unable to pick up the object. And, if you insist on picking up the object, you will fall flat on your face!
Leg Lift:
Stand against a wall with your right side facing the wall, then put your right foot and cheek against the wall.
Try to lift your left foot off the floor.
Can you do this? Bet you can't!
The Science:
You will not be able to lift your foot off the ground at all! This trick requires you to shift your center of gravity over your right foot. You cannot do this without moving the wall! In our everyday life, our body maintains balance with little adjustments that are so automatic that we never think about them.
Notes About Gravity:
Gravity is the force of attraction between bodies or objects that have mass. Gravity exerts its force in such a way that all the weight of a body seems to be concentrated at a single point. If a body has a supporting base, its center of gravity must be located directly over the base or the body will tip over. An object with a regular shape, such as the Earth, has a center of gravity, which is very easy to locate — at the geometric center. But irregular shaped objects, like the human body, do not necessarily have a center of gravity that coincides with the geometric center. In fact, for human beings, the center of gravity can be at different spots when we are doing different activities. For example, when we are skiing or doing gymnastics, our center of gravity is always shifting from one part of our body to another.
Follow up activity.
Kids can design their own space ship, they can draw it on paper and then explain how it will fly and where they plan on going and how they plan on getting it into space.
Follow up activity;
On this one the kids can do some calculating on the time it would take to reach a place in space or a planet. They can do this using light speed or light years.


Wisher of the day:

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Ю́рий Алексе́евич Гага́рин) (YOO-ree gah-GAH-reen) (March 9, 1934 - March 27, 1968), was a Soviet cosmonaut who in 1961 became the first man to travel into space.

Gagarin was born near Gzhatsk, and his parents worked on a collective farm. While manual labourers and described in official reports as "peasants", this is somewhat of an exaggeration; his mother was reportedly a voracious reader, and his father a skilled carpenter who did not advertise his abilities to avoid the wrath of Stalin's purges against the "kulaks". The third of four children, his elder sister helped to raise him while his parents worked. Like millions of Russians, the Gagarin family suffered great hardship in World War II. His two elder siblings were taken away to Germany in 1943, and did not return until after the war. Gagarin himself was described as an intelligent, hard-working, if occasionally mischievous boy by his teachers. His mathematics teacher flew in the Red Army Air Force during the war, which presumably made some substantial impression on the young Gagarin.

After starting an apprenticeship in a metalworks, Gagarin was selected for further training at a technical school in Saratov. While there, he joined the "AeroClub", and learned to fly a light aircraft, a hobby that began to take up an increasing proportion of his time. Through dint of effort, rather than brilliance, he reportedly mastered both, and after completing his technical schooling, in 1955 he entered military flight training at the Orenberg Pilot's School, where he met Valentina Gorycheva, whom he married in 1957, after gaining his pilot's wings in a MiG-15. After graduating, he was posted at an airbase near Murmansk, where the terrible weather made flying risky.

In 1960, an extensive search and selection process saw Gagarin, amongst 20 other cosmonauts, selected for the Soviet space program. Along with the other prospective cosmonauts, he was subjected to a punishing series of experiments designed to test his physical and psychological endurance, as well as training relating to the upcoming flight. Out of the 20 selected, eventually the choice for the first to launch was between Gagarin and Gherman Titov, because of their excellent performance in training, as well as their physical characteristics - space was at a premium in the small Vostok cockpit. The choice of Gagarin, ultimately approved at the highest levels, was probably made due to Gagarin's modest upbringing and personality, as distinct from the middle-class and somewhat aloof Titov.

On April 12, 1961, Gagarin became the first human to travel into space (see Vostok 1). From orbit, Gagarin made the comment, "I don't see any god up here."

After the flight, Gagarin became an instant, worldwide celebrity, touring widely to promote the Soviet achievement. He proved quite adept at handling the publicity. However, it appeared to gradually wear him down, and he began to drink heavily - not helped by difficulties in his marriage. October 1961 he severely injured himself in a drunken holiday escapade with a young nurse in the Crimea.

From 1962 he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet, but later returned to "Star City", the cosmonaut facility, where he worked on designs for a reusable spacecraft. In 1967, he was selected as backup for the first Soyuz launch. The Soyuz capsule's parachute failed during reentry and the craft crashed, killing Vladimir Komarov.

Gagarin then became deputy training director of the establishment. In the process of this, he began to requalify as a fighter pilot. He was killed in a crash of a MiG-15 on a routine training flight near Moscow together with his instructor. It is uncertain what caused the crash, but a 1986 inquest suggests that the turbulence from a Su-11 using afterburners may have caused the craft to go out of control. Weather conditions were also poor, which probably contributed to the inability of Gagarin and the instructor to correct before they crashed.

Scattered resources consistently refer to a serious quarrel that took place between Gagarin and General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev at a banquet where both parties heavily insulted each other in public using very strong language. While this clash was believed by some to be linked with Gagarin’s sudden death, it contributed to enhancing Gagarin’s reputation as a people’s hero in Russia.

Although Gagarin is indisputably the first man to survive space travel, there is a conspiracy theory that the Russians had previously launched two human beings into orbit prior to Gagarin, but both cosmonauts died enroute. The Soviet government then supposedly suppressed this information to prevent bad publicity for their space program. According to Gagarin's biography, Starman, these rumours were likely started in a similar manner to the Roswell conspiracy theories; two Vostok missions, equipped with dummies and tape recordings of the human voice (to check the radio worked), were made in the period just before Gagarin's flight.
Space Travel Inquiries


http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/msad16mar99_1a/

http://www.n2yo.com/

http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/space/spaceports/index.php

http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/space/ares_testing_rockets/

Pretend you could have a conversation with R2-D2. What would you talk about? Write down the text of your dialogue.

What space exploration do you think should be made? Write a proposal to NASA, explaining where they should explore next and why. Make suggestions for accomplishing it.

Restate in your own words the story of Star Wars. Or, make a storyboard of the story of Star Wars. Or, make a spoof of the story of Star Wars. Or, retell the story of Star Wars, except with the whole thing taking place under water.

What Star Wars character do you like the most? Why? Write about it in your Wishes! Journal.

Make a scale model of a space ship.

Discover what portion of the solar system, galaxy, and universe has been explored.

Make a flipbook of a rocket in space.

What space travel is going on right now? Document all the missions currently in progress and/or those that are planned. Put them in order of importance.

Make a timeline of space exploration.

Pretend you went on a long space trip. Make a postcard you might send home. What picture does it have on it? What do you write on it?

Pretend you got to make the food that the astronsuts would eat in space. Make the food, package it appropriately, and make a label for it, complete with your food company logo.

One of the most famous quotes is, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Imagine that you were the first person to step on Mars. What do you say as you step onto the planet?

Write a want ad for a space ship that you want.

Write instructions on how to make a rocket.

What do you wish you could know about space? Write down 5-10 questions. Email JPL to see if they know the answers to any of your questions. For the questions they don’t have the answers to, consider how you think those questions could be answered.

Pretend that you are going to apply to be an astronaut. Make the job application and fill it out.

Based on the space travel that has already been made, what do you think space travel will be like in 10 years from now? 25 years? 50 years? Write your thoughts in your Wishes! Journal.

Identify five different space vehicles. Who made them? What are they used for? Write about it in your Wishes! Journal.

Draw a spaceship that you wish you could pilot.

Play pretend with a friend. You are space heroes defending the universe against an evil empire.

Make an inventory of the equipment now orbiting the earth.

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