“Taternauts” and Spacesuits: How Astronauts Stay Safe in Space

Posted on Thu, October 5, 2017
  • by: Beth Wilson, Educator and Host of STEM in 30

One of the most recognizable things about an astronaut is the spacesuit he or she wears. Although the technology has come a long way since the 1960s Mercury era, today’s spacesuits are still pretty big and bulky. This is because they are essentially the astronauts’ personal spacecraft.

The suit is equipped to regulate an astronaut’s temperature as he or she endures the extreme heat of 250 degrees Fahrenheit in the Sun and -250 degrees Fahrenheit in the shadows. The suit must also be able to regulate the air inside to make sure the astronaut can breathe. Additionally, a Kevlar layer helps protect the astronaut from micrometeorites puncturing the suit. Each spacesuit must be able to do all of this, as well as give the astronaut the mobility to make repairs to the International Space Station.

To learn more, watch NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik discuss how spacesuits allow astronauts to function in space. Then, join STEM in 30 hosts Beth and Marty as they create “spacesuits” to protect some very special astronaut stand-ins: potatoes, or, as we like to call them, “Taternauts.”

Subject: Physical Science, Earth & Space Science | Grade Level: 5-8 |Time: 60-90 Minutes
PDF iconLesson Plan: Taternauts

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