Kenny McCardle makes Desert Hills Elementary School Students Scream for Space Ice Cream
Kenny McCardle has worked at NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) since 1966. Currently, he works as a Technical Specialist in the Laboratories Department. Throughout his career he has supported the Labs Department at WSTF, and the Science Advisors (SciAd) in the public schools. SciAds help students learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by pairing experienced personnel from the test facility with students who attend the Las Cruces Public Schools.
Just ask Kenny to provide science demonstrations to first and third grade classes at Desert Hills Elementary, and everyone agrees: he is a first class act.
Recently, Kenny demonstrated to the students that ordinary materials like balloons, rubber balls, or flowers and bananas will react differently in the atmospheres of space, where temperatures can range from very hot to very cold.
Ordinary materials placed in Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) will change properties, where balloons shrink, rubber balls and flowers shatter, and bananas can drive nails into wood. Liquid nitrogen boils at −196 °C (−321 °F) and is a cryogenic fluid which mimics certain space temperatures.
Kenny also helped the students make Flubber as a science project, and then mixed cream, sugar and vanilla, LN2, into Space Ice Cream for dessert.
Kenny taught the students the basics of safely handling the LN2, and gave safety glasses to the students. “The glasses were a big hit!” he said.
Students thought being able to make space ice cream was even better, but when teachers saw the Flubber that Kenney helped them make, they clamored for the recipe. So here it is:
To make Flubber:
2/3 Cup of warm water
- 1-1/2 Tsp Borax
- 1 Cup Elmers Glue
- 3/4 Cup of warm water
- 3 drops food colring
Directions: Quickly Mix Catalyst and Monoment Together to create Flubber (polymer)
Cheerie R. Patneaude
NASA JSC White Sands Test Facility