Wednesday, November 12, 2008

General Science: The Right Stuff

This week the kids had to design a spacesuit that could withstand the intensely high temperatures one might find on Venus. Lacking the funding to actually travel to Venus and not wanting to violate the Helsinki Declaration (ethical principles for research on human subjects), we used shlukim instead of people, and boiling water instead of Venus. The kids decorated their icy subjects, and then dressed them in spacesuits they designed from a range of materials including aluminum foil, paper towels, and inflated ziploc bags. To make it a proper experiment, we first tested a control shluk, a subject not wearing a spacesuit. The subjects were then placed in boiling water for 1 minute. Afterward, the kids opened up each shluk and measured the volume of liquid to see which one melted the least. While many an alien/astronaut costume is made out of aluminum foil, the clear winner in this experiment was the inflated ziploc bag.

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