NASA and the ISS National Lab are offering online astronaut training to people who are stuck in lockdown.
They’ve developed a range of adventurous programs and activities for all the children stuck in home lockdown, including a training program to become a home astronaut, build a hovercraft, launch rockets, and many more.
“Astronauts see the world from space and want to share its beauty and its wholeness,” explained ISS National Lab education manager Dan Barstow.
“They do medical experiments to search for cures, and they help young people see the power of the mysterious Universe to pull us to explore.”
Students can take part in experiments like astronauts do on the International Space Station, and compare the results to those from space.
For example, observing microgravity using simple materials to demonstrate how astronauts float in space – not due to lack of gravity, but because they are constantly falling towards Earth.
Kids can also contribute to science in progress by joining citizen science projects, like combing through images to search for new brown dwarfs and planets, using satellite data to help biologists track penguin populations, and training a computer to think like a scientist for future Mars missions.
Until April 22, students can even help choose which plant astronauts will next grow in space. The plan is for SpaceX’s October cargo resupply mission to provide astronauts with a spacefaring legume – but which legume has yet to be decided. You can join team Alfalfa, Mungbean, or Lentil, and help scientists work out which plant is the best suited for living on the ISS.
In creating these activities the ISS National Lab and partners aim to inspire hope in young people during these challenging times, saying:
“We know many students are learning at home right now, and hands-on activities are especially important to keep students engaged and learning. We are all in this together.”