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World Space Week runs from the 4th to the 10th of October each year and this year the theme is “The Moon: Gateway to the Stars”.

Why October? You might think this week was picked as every other date has been earmarked for such special occasions as World Television Day, British Pie Week and Christmas Jumper Day. But no, the 4th of October is a special anniversary in space exploration. This was the date in 1957 when Sputnik 1, the first human-made satellite was launched into space. Happy birthday Sputnik!


Space activities from NASA

Check out NASA’s special website just for kids. They’ve put together all sorts of interesting facts and fun activities for budding space scientists. From instructions to build your own spacecraft to how to weigh a planet…there’s plenty to keep you busy for Space Week and beyond.

You can also find out about Space Week activities by visiting the World Space Week website and looking out for #WorldSpaceWeek or #WSW on social media. Find out about life on the International Space Station in this interview with Tim Peake.

Be a star-gazer

You don’t even need a telescope to see stars and planets in the night sky. With just your own eyes you can see things that are thousands of lightyears away. If you want to find out more about what you can see or would like some things to spot you can try these websites:

Jodrell Bank’s website updates every month to give you ideas of things to look for. It’s not the most exciting website ever but worth a look!

The Schools Observatory gives detailed positions of interesting features each day. This is particularly good for planet-spotting!

You may spot the International Space Station on it’s regular trip around the Earth. It looks a bit like a plane flying across the sky but it doesn’t have any flashing lights. It’s also travelling around 30 times faster than an aeroplane. Check out NASA’s Spot the Station website to find out where it is right now.

 

What do you weigh on Mars?

Your weight is the amount of force that is pulling you down to earth. This is a combination of your mass (the amount of ‘stuff’ that you are made of) and gravity. Your mass stays the same wherever you are but your weight would change if you go to a different planet or the moon. This is because a smaller planet has less gravitational pull than a big planet. You can work out your weight on different planets by multiplying your weight on Earth by the following numbers:

For the Moon – multiply by 0.16 (you’d feel very light, this is why astronauts can jump so high). Mercury and Mars – multiply by 0.3, Venus – multiply by 0.9, Jupiter – multiply by 2.3 (you’d feel very heavy!), Uranus – multiply by 0.8, Neptune – multiply by 1.1. Saturn’s gravity is very similar to Earth so your weight would be about the same.

Note for super scientists: weight is actually measured in newtons, it is mass that is measured in kilograms. To convert from kilograms to newtons you need to multiply by gravity which is around 9.8 on Earth. So if your mass is 28kg, your weight is 274N. Your mass is still 28kg wherever you are in the universe but your weight would change.

Make your own bottle rockets!

All you need is: a piece of plastic plumbing tube (very cheap in any DIY store), a short piece of hose-pipe, an empty lemonade bottle, some paper, glue and Sellotape.

To make the rocket: roll a piece of A4 paper around the plastic tube. Use glue to keep the paper rolled up but do not stick it to the plastic tube! Push the paper over the end of the plastic tube so that you can fold the end over and stick it down with plenty of Sellotape. Take it off the plastic tube and that’s your rocket done…it’s that simple! You can decorate it if you like.

To make the rocket launcher: attach the hose to the neck of the bottle, again use plenty of tape to make sure no air can escape around the sides of the hose. Stick the plastic tube on the other end of the hose and make sure it is well sealed too. Your rocket launcher is ready to go.

To launch the rocket: Find an outside space that has plenty of room for a safe launch. Make sure the rocket can’t hit anyone or end up in a road. Slide the paper rocket onto the plastic tube. If you STOMP on the bottle, the air inside will be squashed and will rush through the tube under high pressure. This will make the rocket fly up in the air. You may want to get someone else to hold the tube so that you can get a really big stomp!