Apples and You

 Posted by DrJeff on May 21st, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

apple-earth

This post is a Jeffism’ by Dr. Jeff and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.


Last time on the blog, I used astronaut John Grunsfeld’s recent Business Trip to the Hubble Space Telescope to show you that the perceived limitless ocean of air under which we live is really not limitless. At an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface, you’re effectively at the top of the atmosphere (since 99.99% of it is beneath you.) So let’s really put this in perspective with a Dr. Jeff Jeffism:

Earth’s atmosphere compared to Earth is thinner than

the skin of an apple compared to an apple.

I truly hope that makes an impression on you. Read it again and let it sink in. Then take a moment and reflect on what you’re thinking.

Now … for the rest of the story—


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The Business Trip

 Posted by DrJeff on May 19th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News by Dr. Jeff.

 

This was originally posted during the flight of Shuttle Atlantis, STS-125, May 11-24, 2009. But it can be used as a Teachable Moment for any Shuttle flight, or used at any time with the International Space Station.

 

Every so often I’ve got to tell my son Jordi that I need to go away on a business trip. His first question is always, “Daddy, where are you going?” So I pull out a map or a globe, talk about what I’m going to do when I get there, and make it a teachable moment. I can teach him some geography, and in a way where he’s personally connected to the place.

 

So, I have to wonder if astrophysicist John Grunsfeld has little kids. If so, he might have recently said, “kids, daddy has to go away on a business trip for a couple of weeks.” I would have liked to be the fly on the wall when they said “where daddy?”

 

John and his friends (Michael, Michael, Gregory, Megan, Scott, and Andrew) are definitely on a grueling business trip, but I’d rather go with them than to Disney World. Right now they’re in a spiffy RV (with really expensive accommodations) moving about 4.5 MILES PER SECOND (7 km/sec) relative to you. Think about that speed for a moment.

 

They’re aboard space shuttle Atlantis, relaxing after having just repaired a national treasure–the Hubble Space Telescope. They are in OUTER SPACE (say this slowly and with an echo for effect.) So, let’s use his business trip as a teachable moment. Where is … OUTER SPACE?

 

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