Education Payload Operations (EPO) - 09.17.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Education Payload Operations (EPO) includes curriculum-based educational activities that demonstrate basic principles of science, mathematics, technology, engineering and geography. These activities are videotaped and then used in classroom lectures. EPO is designed to support the NASA mission to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Science Results for Everyone

Who wants to be part of the next generation of space explorers? EPO produced educational activities to inspire todays students to become future space pioneers. Space station crewmembers have made more than 500 videos and DVDs of demonstrations about physical properties such as force, motion, and energy that may be obscured by gravity on Earth. These have been distributed to science teachers and schools throughout the United States, and roughly 1,500 teachers are trained to use these materials each year. Another 30.9 million students have had the opportunity to participate in live downlink events where classmates pose questions to crews on the space station.
 



The following content was provided by Jonathan Neubauer, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

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Principal Investigator(s)

  • Jonathan Neubauer, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Matthew Keil, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

  • Developer(s) Expedition 7 - 9:
    Heinz, Ontario, , Canada

    Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Expedition 5:
    Rice University, The Rice Space Institute, Houston, TX, United States

    Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
    Expedition 5:
    Houston Independent School District, Houston, TX, United States

    Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX, United States
    Expedition 7 - 9:
    Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, OH, United States
    Expedition 5:
    Miami University, Oxford, OH, United States
    Expedition 7 - 9:
    St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, MO, United States

    Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD, United States

    Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, United States

    Association of Science and Technology, Washington, DC, United States

    Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    NASA Education (EDU)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    December 2001 - October 2015

    Expeditions Assigned
    4,5,7,8,9,43/44

    Previous ISS Missions
    EPO began ISS operations during Expedition 4.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The objective of Education Payload Operations (EPO) investigation is to use toys, tools and other common items in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) to create educational video and multimedia products that inspire the next generation of mathematicians, physicists, engineers, and other scientists.


    • The products are used for demonstrations and to support curriculum materials that are distributed across the United States and internationally to educators.


    • The individual EPO projects are designed to explore physical phenomena such as force, motion, and energy. Each ISS Expedition involves different on-orbit activities and themes as well as different partners such as museums, universities, and public school districts.

    Description

    The objective of the Education Payload Operations (EPO) investigation is to use toys, tools, and other common items in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) to create educational video and multimedia products that inspire the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, physicists, and other scientists. The products are used for demonstrations and to support curriculum materials distributed across the United States and internationally. The individual EPO projects are designed to explore physical phenomena such as force, motion, and energy. Each Expedition involves different on-orbit activities and themes, as well as different partners, such as museums, universities, and public school districts.

    The EPO payloads are small, weighing less than 6.8 kg (15 lbs) each. Whenever possible, the demonstrations use materials and objects already available on ISS. Some of the activities cover physical properties, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion or Bernoulli’s Principle for air pressure, and others are specific to life in space, such as explaining how ISS solar panels work or demonstrating EVAs.

    Specific activities are as follows:

    • Education demonstration activities (EDAs) showing basic physics principles, such as Weight vs. Mass, Center of Mass.
    • EDAs illustrates aspects of living in space, such as Tools in Space, and Pouring Liquid into a Container.
    • EDAs for use by science museums included a harmonica, puzzles, dexterity puzzles, and a balsa wood Wright Flyer.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    EPO introduces the next generation of explorers to the environment of space.

    Earth Applications

    EPO is part of NASA's continuing effort to use space as a unique educational tool for K-12 students. Everyday items, such as toys and tools, are given a new twist by combining them with the allure of space flight and the unusual weightless environment to produce educational materials that inspire interest in science and technology and encourage curiosity and creativity.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    EPO does not require power, telemetry, or specialized hardware. However, each demonstration requires several hours from at least two crew members, one of whom operates the video equipment and the other demonstrates the activity.

    Operational Protocols

    After setting up the demonstration, at least one crew member performs the demonstration while another films it. Each demonstration has its own props (e.g., toys or tools). The demonstration is then dismantled and returned to stowage. After the videos are returned to Earth, they are used to develop teaching guides, project plans, and educational packages focusing on the physical sciences and technology.

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    Results/More Information

    EPO is a successful education program on ISS. By using simple objects and the microgravity environment, NASA is able to produce videos that demonstrate physical properties, such as force, motion, and energy, which may be obscured by gravity on Earth. To date, over 500 videos, DVDs, and video clips have been produced and distributed to science teachers and schools throughout the United States. About 1500 teachers each year are trained to use the materials in their classrooms. An additional 30.9 million students have had the opportunity to participate in live downlink events where their classmates pose questions of ISS crews on orbit.

     

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      McClain B, Woodard D.  Extending the Learning Environment to the World's Most Unique Microgravity Laboratory: The International Space Station. 54th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen, Germany; 2003

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    Related Websites
    Central Operations of Resources for Educators (CORE)
    Johnson Space Center Education and Student Programs
    NASA Education Program
    NASA eClips
    NASA Fact Sheet

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    Imagery

    image Video screen shot of Expedition 8 Science Officer, Mike Foale, demonstrating the use of tools on ISS for an EPO event.
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    image Video screen shot of Expedition 8 Science Officer Mike Foale uses small and large magnets to show the pull of the Earth's magnetic field on ISS for an EPO event.
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    image Video screen shot of Expedition 9 Science Officer, Mike Fincke, demonstrating First Aid on ISS for an EPO event.
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    image Video screen shot of ISS Expedition 9 Science Officer, Mike Fincke, performing the EPO Puzzles demonstration.
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    image Video screen shot of ISS Expedition 9 Science Officer, Mike Fincke, performing the EPO Water Droplet demonstration.
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