Over 200 miles above the surface of the Earth, the astronauts onboard the Space Station must use various forms of technology to communicate with the ground support personnel, as well as their friends and family. Advancements in technology have ensured that they are able to maintain communication via these mediums almost 24 hours a day. Here on Earth, these same advancements have enabled people to reach across the world and communicate easily. Communication is essential in establishing and maintaining relationships, whether you’re on or off the planet. What are some ways you have improved communication in your life? Or, how can you use the tools at hand, such as cell phones and social media, to enhance life in other places around the world.
Imagine living in a house with five of your friends for six months, without getting to leave at all. This is what the astronauts onboard the Space Station prepare to face during their missions. Astronauts must create a sense of community amongst each other in order to work and live together for such long periods of time. Do you know someone who just doesn’t seem to fit in? Can you think of ways to include them and bring them into your circle of friends - maybe share a meal, have a conversation, or take a bit of time to show that you care about the same things they care about? That’s how we create communities, no matter where we are - all across the planet or in space. All it takes is you…
As a National Laboratory, the Space Station is an enormous scientific endeavor meant to not only further science and technology, but educate the world of everything from effects of microgravity on the human body to plant growth in microgravity to water purification, you name it. But the Space Station would not have been possible without the people who have contributed to designing, building, and operating it. Space exploration is a continued effort over generations, and as such, education is a cornerstone of Station operations. How has education impacted your life? Education is essential to passing on knowledge and experience - what can you do to inspire your friends and family to pursue their dreams?
The Space Station must generate its own power in order to sustain itself and the lives of those onboard. Using state of the art technology, the Station harvests solar power to power the subsystems onboard and create a habitable environment for the astronauts. On Earth, it's important to conserve our power sources and find sustainable and affordable solutions for providing power to areas all around the world. What can you do to help? Maybe you could encourage your family and friends to turn the lights off before leaving a room or unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Or maybe you have a ideas for harvesting the sun or harnessing algae growing in your back yard to create new power sources. What creative solutions can you come up with to help our fragile oasis?
In addition to recycling water, astronauts onboard the International Space Station must also find ways to recycle the air that they breathe. Essentially a self-contained bubble, the Station must be made habitable through various life support systems that "scrub" the CO2 exhaled by astronauts, and recycle it as breathable oxygen. As pollution expands its grip on much of the world, it will be essential to develop technologies that emulate the systems onboard the Station and help clean the environment. And any little bit counts - cleaning a neighborhood park or school, working on a school project, developing new technologies - all are ways to help the environment and make this planet a better place. What can you think up?
Nutrition is extremely important to astronauts living onboard the Space Station. Without fresh fruits and vegetables, they must subsist on pre-packaged, dehydrated meals that are healthy and contain vitamins and minerals, just as food here on Earth would provide. They even grow some of their own vegetables on-orbit! Enjoy camping or hiking? The technology used to prepare and package the food available to astronauts is the same technology used for the food you bring on your next outdoor adventure! Do you like to cook? One of your recipes could be an ideal candidate for being easy to prepare for the type of food astronauts eat. Have a green thumb? Maybe your community could benefit from having a garden to share. No matter how little, your project could help educate people around the world about the benefits of good nutrition habits and inspire technologies that make living a healthy life easier.
As astronauts are exposed to microgravity over long durations, their bodies must adapt to this environment and all the changes it brings. From fitness to nutrition, astronauts must take care of themselves during their stays to ensure that they return to Earth healthy. As we learn more and more about the human body in this unique environment, our understanding of how it functions here on Earth grows. And the bottom line is that good health and exercise is crucial for life off-planet. What are creative ways you can encourage your family and friends to eat healthy and exercise? What about the children and elderly in your community - how can you help them embrace a healthy lifestyle? The possibilities are endless - what can you do inspire healthy habits?
We’ve learned how to work through language and cultural differences to build this Century’s engineering marvel - an orbiting outpost for six humans from hometowns across the planet. We share the governance and operation of Space Station with our 15 partner nations. We’ve established rules for how decisions are made, and how to mediate disputes. What are ways you can work with your neighbors, schools, and communities to accomplish what no one else has been able to accomplish? Can you put aside your differences to do something amazing for your generation? Can you create or join existing organizations that promote global peace. What can you do to leave a lasting impression on our world?
Have you worked on something hard and learned something new? Scientists and engineers at NASA do this each and every day, as they work to support humans in space. Do you have any class assignments, school papers, or side projects that you’re really proud of? Share them with the Fragile Oasis Community…
Water is a scarce commodity here on Earth and on the Space Station. Astronauts onboard the Station conserve and recycle their water supplies for everything from hygiene purposes to food/beverages to science experiments. Here on Earth, gallons and gallons of water are wasted every day - what can you do to help conserve? Many communities around the world struggle to get clean water for their personal use. How can you help make water more accessible to them? Every act of conservations helps -- from turning your faucet off while brushing your teeth to developing technologies that purify water.