Educational Materials: February 2017, Space

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February 2017: Space - The Moon

moon sci chic subscription box educational materials
Quick Moon Stats:
DISTANCE FROM EARTH:238,857 miles from Earth
SIZE:2,160 miles in diameter, about 27% that of Earth
GRAVITY:17% Earth's gravity
ORBITAL PERIOD:5 days to orbit Earth
LENGTH OF DAY:708 hours
Photo credit: Peter Freiman
Going to the Moon:

Twelve humans have walked on the moon on 6 different missions. These missions were all a part of the Apollo program. The Apollo 8 mission was the first mission to enter the moon’s orbit, but the astronauts did not actually make a moon landing. Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969. The first man to walk on the moon was Neil Armstrong who said the famous words,

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The final mission was Apollo 17, which took place in 1972. No humans have walked on the moon since this mission.

Phases of the moon:

The phases of the moon are caused by a different portion of the lit side of the moon facing the Earth. As the moon orbits the Earth, a different portion of the sunlit side faces the Earth. At a new moon, none of this side of the moon is visible. This results in a completely black moon in the night sky. At the full moon, the entire sunlight side is visible.

As the moon transitions from new moon to full moon, it is referred to as waxing. The sunlit side is becoming more visible. As the moon transitions from full moon to new moon it is referred to as waning. The sunlit side is becoming less visible.

All of the phases of the moon are listed to the left. Each phase lasts about 7.4 days. They lengths vary slightly because of the moon's orbits slightly elliptical shape.

Lunar Eclipse:

sci chic lunar eclipse graphic subscription box science educational materialsAnother type of eclipse can occur when the moon enters a different section of shadow called the penumbra. It causes a slight darkening on the moon's surface. The impact lunar eclipses can be seen for hours.A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up, with the moon directly behind the Earth. When the moon is in this position, it is located in the Earth's umbra, or shadow. The Earth blocks all of the sunlight that would normally reflect off of the moon. The moon appears reddish because of the scattering of light in the atmosphere.

Next penumbral eclipse: 2/11/17
Next total eclipse: 1/31/18

Nicole Stott is a veteran of 2 spaceflights and 104 days living in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She was also the first person to ever paint in space and now spreads her experiences through art! Check out our interview with her below.

nicole stott artist astronaut stem star1. When did you start combining art with science?

Art has always been a part of my life. I had a very creative family. My dad was a private pilot, loved to do aerobatic flying, and he built airplanes in our garage as a hobby. While building and flying airplanes is a scientific, engineering and technical thing, it is also very much an artistic and creative thing. I know I didn’t realize it at the time, but it certainly had a very formative and inspirational impact on my life.

2. What has been the reception to your space inspired art?
I have been really pleased by the response to my art, especially because it has given me the opportunity to share my spaceflight experience with new audiences. I love that when I have the chance to talk to people about my artwork and spaceflight experience that inspired it, even if they didnt know there was a space station, they want to know more.

3. What projects that combine art and science are you most proud of?

What I’m most proud of though is that my spaceflight experience and my time as an astronaut has given me the opportunity to participate in projects that are much bigger than me and my own artwork, projects that like our space program are working to improve the life here on Earth.

One project in particular is the Space Suit Art Project. I was invited to participate in this project because I am an astronaut and artist. The idea for the suits came from the artistic genius of Ian Cion who was the director of the Arts in Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Pediatric Cancer Center. The project has been championed through the participation of Ian, MD Anderson, space suit company ILC Dover, the NASA ISS Program Communications group, representatives from our ISS partner countries, and me. Each suit is built from the hand-painted artwork of children in treatment at cancer centers from around the world. There are 3 art space suits: Hope, Courage, and Unity – each named for the underlying message of the project.

Space exploration as a theme is very inspirational and gives people hope for the future and the courage to look toward a positive future. Our space programs have been one of the best examples of how when we work together pretty spectacular things can happen. And space suits, especially these art space suits, are a stunning visual representation of hope, courage, and unity.

Find Nicole at

3D Printing This Month's Sci Chic Kids Box

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