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PSA Microgravity Challenge
Student/Expert Forum

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
Please use this room to ask your questions of the experts and/or chat with students from around the word regarding your design of a microgravity environment for testing your PSA. Instructions for this project may be found at http://quest.nasa.gov/projects/space/psa04/index.html

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
We will monitor, but not moderate this chat room unless it is abused. Please report concerns to me at info@quest.nasa.gov - be sure to send the URL of this chat room in your email. Thanks!

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ ganesh ] wheather it can be used in ordinary life
Hi Ganesh, I'm not sure I understand what you're asking - could you clarify please?

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
RE: [ amanda/TN ] how far is everyone else?
Hi Amanda, I will send out an email tomorrow to encourage classrooms to respond here. Hopefully by now classrooms are becoming acquainted with some of the features of Microgravity by viewing the videos and perhaps doing some of the activities in the Microgravity Lessons at: http://quest.nasa.gov/space/teachers/microgravity/
As you begin to think through your design, this research will be helpful. How far have you gotten? Do you need some help from our experts?


[amanda/TN - 170 - 09:34:09 ]
I may need help later. I was chosen as a teacher for the field test. I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the reply. AManda

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ Melanie/MD ] Hello, This whole thing is new to me. I'm an enrichment teacher at a middle school in Maryland. I have two small 8th grade teams competing, and one whole 6th grade class. How do we get involved in chat room/open forum discussions during the time block they have Science class (9:45-11:00 a.m. daily)? Please advise, and thank you! --melanie
Hi Melanie. We treat this room like a forum rather than a chat room. If you have questions for either the NASA engineers involved with the PSA or for other classrooms participating in this challenge - just post them here and we will get them answered as quickly as possible.

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ Melanie/MD ] One more question for now: The directions state that the PSA can be moved manually or mechanically. I'm assuming the students cannot touch it--correct? If not, how might it be moved "manually?" Thanks again, --melanie
Its motion may be initiated manually, for instance giving it a push to get it moving, however its ability to maintain microgravity-like movement should be dependent on the testbed, not manual manipulation.

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
RE: [ melanie/MD ] Hi again, Kids have a question: Can the device be in more than one piece that can be attached/detached to the PSA? Please advise and thanks. --melanie
If I'm reading your questions correctly, I think the answer is yes. What we really need is a way to demonsrate how the PSA would function in microgravity - how you do that is up to you! If I've misunderstood, please clarify.

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
RE: [ tanya/wayneok ] how and where do we submit our designs?
Excellent question! and I'm sorry - the link was up once, but... Instructions are at: http://quest.nasa.gov/projects/space/psa04/posting.html - in short you may send electronic submissions to me: lconrad@mail.arc.nasa.gov

[Keith_Nicewarner/Robot_Engineer ]
RE: [ Melanie ] Will a magnetic field around the PSA mess it up?
The answer depends on the strength and behavior of the magnetic field. If it's strong enough and rapidly changing directions, bad things can happen to electronics. But inside the space station, it shouldn't be exposed to such extremes.

[Daniel_Andrews/ControlsAutomationEngineer]
RE: [ Melanie ] Will a magnetic field around the PSA mess it up?
Can you explain the context of the question? The reason I ask is that I thought the student's role in this challenge was to device a means for creating a microgravity environment in which the PSA could be tested... Is she asking a question regarding a magnetic field environment of their testbed (like being near big motors or something), or is she concerned about the ISS? In general, fluctuating magnetic fields induce voltage on wires. This induced voltage could cause the signals that are transmitted over those wires to change, thereby "affecting" the PSA operation, (i.e. the PSA might detect incorrect data), or if the field is strong-enough, actually cause harm to some electronics.

[Keith_Nicewarner/Robot_Engineer]
RE: [ Melanie ] Can we encase the PSA in something?
What would you want to encase the PSA in? Are you talking about a means to shield it from magnetic fields? Yes, you could add a conducting shield to its shell that will prevent electromagnetic fields from getting inside it. However, this would increase the weight of the PSA, so we'd only want to do it if we had to.

[Daniel_Andrews/ControlsAutomationEngineer ]
RE: [ Keith_Nicewarner/Robot_Engineer ] What would you want to encase the PSA in? Are you talking about a means to shield it from magnetic fields? Yes, you could add a conducting shield to its shell that will prevent electromagnetic fields from getting inside it. However, this would increase the weight of the PSA, so we'd only want to do it if we had to.
I concur with Keith's statement. If she is talking about external fields affecting the PSA, a shell liner, conducting to the system's electrical ground should do the trick. If she is talking about something within the PSA itself (say propulsion or the like) causing the EMF emissions, then it becomes an internal quest to attempt to isolate the source...

[JordanMD]
ForMr. Brennan's 6/7th Grade at Bullyard State School, how would you make sure that it would move for 3 seconds? I know you could do it, but it would take a little caculations to figure out the right tension on the spring. Just a heads up.

[Linda/NASAQuest ]
RE: [ JordanMD ] ForMr. Brennan's 6/7th Grade at Bullyard State School, how would you make sure that it would move for 3 seconds? I know you could do it, but it would take a little caculations to figure out the right tension on the spring. Just a heads up.
Thanks Jordan - I'll make sure the folks from Bullyard State School see your remarks. Were you referring to one of the designs in particular? Notice, each has a student name in the index.

[ChrisMD - 196 - 10:15:32 ]
I'm working with Jordan. How long are you planning for it to be in space?

[Jordan_MD]
RE: [unknown] Can you cange your model?
Of Course you can change your model, you made it.

[Tyson/Laffer]
Why does the PSA have to continue to move 3 seconds after you stop pushing it? Is it just to simulate micro-gravity? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the PSA stop at the point you wish it to stop at

[JordanMd ]
Does it have to move up and down, or does it only have to move up/down? The website said "UP or Down".

[Daniel_Andrews/ControlsAutomationEngineer ]
I think the notion of Newtonion motion has perhaps not been made clear. Perhaps a metaphor is in order. For example, many people understand what an air hockey table is. We should be able to talk students through the notion of pushing an air hockey puck, and watching it continue to move across the table, even after you are no longer touching it. How would you do the same thing for up and down (vertical) motion? Gravity is going to be always pulling it down, but if you push it up, it needs to keep moving up... How would you accomplish that?...

[Linda/NASAQuest]
Please note: Expert Dan Andrews has made comments and asked questions about each of your designs online. These questions are to get you thinking to help you refine your final designs. Hope to begin seeing those designs soon!

[Gino_Laffer/Funks8thgradeenrichmentgroup - 205 - 12:49:12 ]
I'm responding to the question posted on Laffer/Funk's 8th grade PSA design. The idea of the winch instead of a simple pulley system was so that the PSA could move up and down independently from its front and back motions. Also, though the counter-weight was included in our design to simulate micro-gavity, the K-nex chain that we used as our winch cable couldn't support the weight of an extra weight. It also couldn't carry the 'PSA' front/back at the same time as up/down, once again because of our weak chain (this would be made of metal on the ISS). In our design, the up/down winch was carried on the side-to-side one, which (once again) couldn't carry it. In microgravity, none of the weight factors would hinder the mechanics of the winch system; therefore, none of the problems we had here would actually occur. Hope that clears things up!

[Linda/NASAQuest]
All designers may find the dialog helpful that is going on between our expert Daniel Andrews and New Market Middle School: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/projects/space/psa04/prelim/index.html

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ Michael_MD ] Why does it have to go for 3 seconds each way wouldn't it have to stop at a certain location?
Hi Michael, The 3 seconds is simply a short version of what would happen in Microgravity. We are trying to come as close as we can to showing what would happen in an environment where there is a lot less friction. Hopefully you can make it move indefinitely (or at least until something stops it). I will pass your question to our experts, but I know they are really busy right now, so I thought I'd send an "in the meantime" answer.

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ Tim/Horacio ] WAS our PSA diagram in on time? why didn't it get shown? our old one that had just a tennis ball and a 9 volt battery was shown on the webcast, we changed our design like Linda said we could but our new one was not shown on the webcast. we watched the 11:00, and the 12:30 webcast, but it wasn't there. Thanks anyway!!
Hi Tim & Horacio, Your design was received AFTER the webcast. It is now online at: http://quest.nasa.gov/projects/space/psa04/final but we had nothing but your preliminary attempts to put up at the time of the webcast.

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ andrewBullyard ] Sorry we've been on Easter Holidays back today. Yes the spring has proved to be a big problem. If I have it to tight it wont keep moving If it is to slack it just drops back. I will have to work on winding up the tension of the supporting strings I think??
We'd love to post what you come up with when you're done. I'll even try to get one of the experts to comment on it if I can.

[Linda/NASAQuest]
RE: [ thedogontherun/arf ] is there going to be a prize?
The design challenge is not a competition. Like the engineers at NASA, the primary reward to a challenge is the satisfaction of finding some solutions that work. The classrooms that participated in the evaluation will receive a tangible thank you for that extra effort that helps us to improve our online offerings.

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