Moving and Working In Space

Background

Historically, a tether's primary use was to supply oxygen to the astronauts while its secondary use was to keep the astronaut anchored to the spacecraft. It was found to be cumbersome and it limited the movement of the astronauts. Today, they are used primarily as a safety measure to keep astronauts anchored as they work in the cargo bay. Scientists and researchers introduced a slide wire along which a tether could be moved so that larger distances could be covered while completing tasks.

Today, they are used primarily as a safety measure to keep astronauts anchored as they work in the cargo bay. Scientists and researchers introduced a slide wire along which a tether could be moved so that larger distances could be covered while completing tasks.

The Activity

Four students must each complete a set of four manual tasks. The restrictions are that they must complete the tasks in a limited time while wearing garden or rubber gloves. They must also remain attached to a line and a tether at all times in order to move around in a confined space.

The Objective

This activity teaches students about an astronaut's challenge of moving within the confines of a limited space and working within the confines of a space suit (more specifically, gloves which reduce finger sensitivity) to complete very manual tasks.

Materials, Preparation and Game Play

Three main components need to be prepared for this activity:

  1. Activity Packages (to simulate manual tasks);
  2. Tethers;
  3. A space within which to work (to simulate slide wires and limits of work space). Materials and preparation are listed below.

1. Activity Packages

You will need:

Astronaut in  bubbles

2. Tethers

Students can make the tethers. The materials required are as follows:

3. The Slide Wires and Space Delineators

You will need:

The Rules

  1. Assign each of the participants a different colour. This colour will help them locate their activity packs. Give them each a pair of gloves.
  2. Tell the students what the four activities are. They can complete their tasks in any sequence, but they cannot move onto the next task until they complete the task at hand. Once they complete the task, they must put the items back in the bag. They cannot remove their gloves.
  3. They must also remain attached to their tether and slide wire. In order to branch off to another section of rope, the participants need to slide their carabiners/spring clips to an adjacent rope and then attach themselves to that. Participants are allowed to reach for their activity packs as long as they remain connected to the rope/slide wire via their tether. If two participants are along the same rope and need to pass each other, one person will need to find an alternative route. No passing is allowed.
  4. Set the timer to four minutes.
  5. The winner is the person who completes the most number of tasks successfully within the four-minute time period and does it without separating from the slide wire.

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