NASA Experiments with Fire in Space

Final destination... space! An unmanned rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral last week, bound for the International Space Station.

It was loaded with supplies for the station, but it won't be returning to earth. Instead, the craft will be deliberately set on fire. NASA wants to see what happens when a large-scale fire erupts inside a space capsule in a zero-gravity environment. Scientists will be measuring the size of the flames, how quickly they spread, and how much heat and gas is emitted.

The fire will be triggered by igniting trash on board the rocket once it undocks and has moved away from the station. NASA hopes the experiment will help them better determine how much fire-resistant material is needed in spacecraft and astronaut gear.

Instructional Links

Diagram: Lockheed Martin, Anatomy of an Atlas Rocket

Lesson Plan: Discovery Education, Life In Space: International Space Station

Video: PBS LearningMedia: Living and Working in Sapce

Online Interactive Website: NASA, Welcome to Mars Trek

Classroom Resources: Brain Pop, Mars

Website: NASA, Mars Exploration

Website Article: NASA Science News, Strange Flames on the ISS

Video: YouTube, Coconut Science Lab, Space Station Experiment Studies Fire In Space

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