Don Pettit, Expedition 6 NASA ISS Science Officer, used his free time, usually Saturday mornings, while living aboard the International Space Station to shed the light of science on a variety of subjects for students of all ages. These demonstrations were chronicled and dubbed "Saturday Morning Science".Principal Investigator(s)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration
November 2002 - May 2003Expeditions Assigned
6Previous ISS Missions
Saturday Morning Science was a unique set of impromptu inspired simple experiments that had not been previously performed in space before.
Science of Opportunity was the brainchild of Expedition 6 NASA ISS Science Officer, Don Pettit. On ISS, crewmembers have access to world-class laboratory facilities in the unique environment of microgravity; the topics for Saturday Morning Science were therefore spawned by living and working in the microgravity environment.
Science of Opportunity, which was dubbed "Saturday Morning Science" by Expedition 6 ISS Commander, Ken Bowersox, was done at the discretion of the ISS astronauts. The experiments used simple materials that would not impact ISS operations. During ISS Expedition 6, a number of scientific principles were demonstrated through Saturday Morning Science. The value of this science is the ability to provide observation-based insights for the reduced gravity environment. Some of the many experiments that were performed are described below:
The simple inspired demonstrations performed during Saturday Morning Science will provide insight into how fluids and other objects behave in microgravity compared to the gravity on Earth.Earth Applications
The simple demonstrations using everyday material for Saturday Morning Science will play a major role in inspiring the next generation to take the journey into space.
Saturday Morning Science activities did not have any specific requirements. NASA ISS Science Officer, Don Pettit typically performed these activities during his free time on Saturday mornings.Operational Protocols
The scientific demonstrations performed during Saturday Science varied in subject. For some demonstrations the onboard ISS camera was used to capture images of the Earth. Whereas, other demonstrations utilized expended ISS supplies, such as ear plugs, a T-Shirt and socks.
Several articles have been published on Saturday Morning Science. Although simple, Saturday Morning Science
often demonstrated phenomena that had not been seen in microgravity.
An article published inSky and Telescope in October 2003 titled "Shooting the Heavens from Space" discussed the amazing views and images captured by astronauts as they live and work in space.
In April 2004, another article published in Sky and Telescope titled "Building Planets in Plastic Bags" based on Water Observations performed as a Saturday Science Demonstration. The demonstration involved observing how salt grains clumped in water while in microgravity. During this demonstration, Pettit unknowingly demonstrated middle stage planetary accretion. A summary paper of the demonstration was published in Lunar and Planetary Science in 2004 concluded that although the demonstration lacked formal controls to identify the exact clumping mechanism, the mechanism is obviously electrostatic. Future investigations of this phenomenon will use realistic materials such as rock dust. (Evans et al. 2009)
Love SG, Pettit DR. Fast, Repeatable Clumping of Solid Particles in Microgravity. 35th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, TX; 2004
Grunsfeld JM. Shooting the Heavens from Space. Sky and Telescope. 2003: 128-132.
DeLombard R, Kelly EM, Hrovat K, Nelson ES, Pettit DR. Motion of Air Bubbles in Water Subjected to Microgravity Accelerations. 43rd Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV; 2005