Did you know that astronauts are still launching into space? While we’re in quarantine, on April 9th NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will launch Expedition 63 to the International Space Station (ISS)! Does becoming an astronaut sound like fun to you too?
How to Start: Are you interested in becoming an astronaut candidate? What does it take to be an astronaut? Where in space would you like to travel? What would you like to study as an astronaut? Wait, not all astronauts study same thing?!?
What to do next: Research it! Remember, your child/children are in charge here. See where their research takes them. But in case they get stuck, some potential questions to help guide them are below.
- Will you be a pilot or mission specialist? What’s the difference?
- What should you study to become an astronaut?
- How do you train to become an astronaut?
- What would you do when you are in space?
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
- Science: Did you know that astronauts conduct all types of scientific experiments, some even on themselves? What scientific experiment would you like to conduct in space?
- Technology: How do astronauts survive in space? Where do they live? What do they eat? What do they wear?
- Engineering: Who designs and builds space vehicles? Space suits? The food astronauts eat?
- Arts: Did you know that the astronauts design their mission patches? Have you seen the sketches of the future lunar and Martian colonies? How do we know what they will look like?
- Math: How many days will it take for Expedition 63 to get to the ISS? back to the Earth? How far will it travel? How long will it take to launch? For older children, refer back to the technology and engineering questions. There is a whole lot of math in there!
- NASA’s looking for their next astronauts: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/explorers-wanted-nasa-to-hire-more-artemis-generation-astronauts
- NASA Artemis program: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/
- Space.com information on becoming an astronaut: https://www.space.com/37110-becoming-a-nasa-astronaut-surprising-facts.html
- Early history of space flight from the Smithsonian Air and Space museum:
- Business Insider information on space suits: https://www.businessinsider.com/spacesuit-design-history-timeline-changes-nasa-2018-3
- The Challenger Center has multiple resources: https://www.challenger.org/challenger_lessons/stem-at-home/
- Scholastic has a bunch of books on astronauts at a variety of levels: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/search-results/?search=1&filters=&text=astrunaut
- NASA resources on being an astronaut: