While offloading the scientific experiment packages from the Lunar Module Orion, astronaut Ed Mitchell released a strap hanging from the top of the equipment bay. The strap swung under the spacecraft and back out; and continued swinging for about one and half minutes. By using the known dimensions of the spacecraft to estimate the length of the strap, timing the pendulum period allows an estimate of the strength of lunar gravity. Suitable for high school or first-year university physics students.
- Communications EchoesIn the October 2006 issue of The Physics Teacher, David Keeports, Professor of Physics at Mills College, Oakland CA, describes a simple determination of the speed of light using 'echoes' of CapCom transmissions that travel to the Moon where they are picked up by the astronauts' in-suit microphones and are rebroadcast to Earth. Suitable for high school physics students.
- Simulated Pressure SuitsThe astronauts had to wear pressure suits on the Moon. The inflated suits restricted their freedom of movement. This can be simulated by using large pieces of bubble warp wound around a student's arms at the elbow, legs at the knee, and around the waist. This activity should be carefully supervised to avoid dangerous falls. The bubble wrap should never be wound around the neck or face.
Return to Journal Home Page