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ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
In the Flying Classroom, ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst uses small items to demonstrate several principles of physics in microgravity to students between the ages of 10-17 years. A gyroscope, viscous liquid and sweets are some of the objects that Astronaut Gerst uses to talk about motion, foam, and particle agglomeration. Six experiments and demonstrations are performed.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Volker Kratzenberg-Annies, Nigel D. Savage, F. Scheffler-Kayser, G. Weerts, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Volker Kratzenberg-Annies, Harry N Abrams Inc
Nigel D. Savage, ESTEC HSO-K, Noordwijk, Netherlands
F. Scheffler-Kayser, Germany
G. Weerts, ESA

Information Pending

European Space Agency, Education Office, Noordwijk, Netherlands
German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview

The following experiments and demonstrations are performed by Astronaut Gerst:

Rosetta-Philae Docking Demo
One of the highlights of this Flying Classroom is a demonstration of ESA's Rosetta mission, which attempts to put a lander on a comet in November 2014. This experiment visualizes the difficulties of landing on an object when there is little gravitational pull. Astronaut Gerst demonstrates the landing strategy in a simple way using the weightless environment of the International Space Station. Landing scenarios with various difficulty levels are attempted: from landing on a rotating 'comet' that is not moving, and landing on one that is both rotating and moving.

Particle Agglomeration
Astronaut Gerst fills zipper bags with sugar, sweets, and hard mints to demonstrate the behaviour of weightless matter floating freely. After inflating the bags and a vigorous shaking, the particles collect together, forming structures as planets and dust particles do in space.

Silly Putty
This experiment demonstrates the unusual properties of a bouncing putty, a toy made of silicone polymers. Astronaut Gerst throws a small ball of putty at different speeds, and at a distance of 30 cm, towards a small square of similar material placed perpendicularly to the trajectory of the ball.

Foaming of Pure Water      
Foam decays much more slowly in microgravity than on the ground. Astronaut Gerst tests this principle on the Station. Foam is generated by shaking water and air in a syringe. Syringes are filled with different volumes and ratios of water and air, before sealing them and shaking the syringes vigorously. The stability of the foam is observed for about a minute. Different ratios produce different quality foams with different stabilities. Astronaut Gerst learns together, with the students, that the stability of the foam is higher than on Earth.

Astronaut Gerst makes gyroscopes in space out of two CD players connected by a pole. This experiment shows the stability of a gyroscope's angular momentum. Students see how the frame of reference rotates due to the Space Station's trajectory around Earth.

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Space Applications
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Earth Applications
The need for education in an ever-increasing knowledge based society is without question and education forms a fundamental part of the mandate of the European Space Agency (ESA). The Agency is conscious that it can play a significant role in contributing to a scientifically literate and aware society, and that it has both a responsibility and a vested interest in doing so. The International Space Station (ISS) Education Programme makes use of human spaceflight, and the ISS, as a means to capture the attention and the interest of students, to attract them to study, in particular, scientific and technical disciplines, and to appreciate and understand the benefits, challenges, and importance of space for Europe and as a member of a global economy.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

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Related Websites

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