All-Around Science Star: Dr. Mae Jemison

NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever dreamed of visiting outer space? Mae Jemison did. As a young girl, she read science fiction and dreamed of shooting to the stars herself. And in 1992, she did! When she launched into orbit, Dr. Mae Jemison was a physician, an engineer, and the first Black woman astronaut in NASA’s program.

February is Black History month and ExploreHope is excited to celebrate the Black scientists who have made history. Plus, we’ll inspire you to explore the science that lit up these science pioneers!

NASA’s Johnson Space Center Astronaut Friday series gives more info about Dr. Jemison and her research work aboard the International Space Station. As a physician, she was especially interested in zero-gravity effects on the human body. She performed many experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness, in addition to supervising the over 40 science experiments on board the space station.

Gravity is a Drag

You probably know that gravity is the force that keeps us grounded safely on Earth instead of floating off into space. But did you know that gravity can change based on how big the planet is, and how close you are to it? That’s why astronauts can bounce around on the moon – the much smaller moon has an equivalently smaller gravitational force. Boing, boing, boing!

When there’s not a huge planet exerting gravitational force, people and objects float around, not pulled in any one direction (like down). But gravity isn’t the only force! The force of magnetism is just as strong in outer space as on Earth’s surface. In space, the force of magnetism is actually much stronger than the weak or non-existence force of gravity!

What about on our planet? Is magnetism stronger than the force of gravity on the surface of Earth? With a few simple materials, you can be the researcher and conduct your own anti-gravity experiment!

Time to Defy Gravity!

We defy gravity all the time! Have you ever jumped up high, or kicked a soccer ball into a net, or lost a frisbee in the trees? You created a force that let your body, soccer ball, or frisbee resist the force of gravity and move away from the ground instead of toward it.

Now grab a few household materials and investigate whether the force of magnetism is stronger than Earth’s gravity. You’ll need a cardboard box, cardboard, a strong magnet, paperclip, and a string – plus some crayons or markers to decorate it! Head over to Science Sparks “How to Defy Gravity” for directions on making a paper bug fly – or a paper rocket launch!

Hope Summer Science Camps are Registering Now!

Love exploring our world, inside and out? Do we have a summer camp for you! Hope Summer Science Camps has over 20 years of experience giving kids the hands-on science explorations of your dreams. Check out the Science Camps page on our website for safety updates, camp schedule, and registration links. We are excited to see you this summer!

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