Wednesday, 26 April 2017

V is for Very Important Space Exploration Innovations

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, my theme for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, is CANADA. 

Join me throughout April (every day except Sundays) to learn more about the inventions, the people, and the cultures that make up one of the greatest countries in the world!

Very Important Space Exploration Innovations

In the Superman Duffy graphic novel, It’s a Blast! (which, FYI was also just translated into French), Chase (aka: me) meets famous Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, who once took 250,000 canola seeds into space to determine whether zero-gravity conditions would impact plant growth. 

It’s a great experiment that has turned into another project, called Tomatosphere—one of your teachers might even have done that project in his/her science class!

As it turns out, Canadians have been doing innovative things in space for years. And while I know it’s a bit of a cheat, I thought I’d use my “V” post to profile the Very Important Space Exploration Innovations developed in Canada. 

You may know about the Canadarm, which was one of the most famous robots in space. Although it has recently been retired, here are five more very important space exploration innovations:
  1. Greenhouses in space: At the University of Guelph, Mike Dixon and his team are working on “biological life support”—systems that will help sustain long-term human exploration to planets. They’re looking for ways to grow plants inside greenhouses with techniques that could grow crops on the moon or Mars!
  2. Space Vision System: Conditions in space can switch from dark to bright, making it hard for astronauts to gauge distance and speed with eyesight alone. The Space Vision System was thought up about three decades ago—and even today, it uses TV cameras as sensors to help astronauts see better.
  3. Microgravity isolation mount: A device used to stabilize equipment and protect fragile experiments from the spacecraft’s vibrations. This important innovation was launched in1996.
  4. STEM antenna: Short for “storable tubular extendible member”, the STEM looks like a roll of tightly coiled steel. But once it’s in space, the roll can be unwound with a small motor into a strong tube to become an antennae.
  5. Landing gear on the Apollo lunar module: Using a landing system designed by Canadian Heroux-Devtek, the Apollo lunar module was the first vehicle to take humans to another surface beyond Earth.  

Wow. Those very important space innovations are truly out of this world! Gotta jet—but I’m back tomorrow with a real “Wpost that may surprise you.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

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