Planning experiments is a very valuable skill for scientists, and the International Space Station has provided an incredibly unique environment for experimentation. In many of the other labs in this course, you’re tasked with carrying out a specific experiment or set of instructions. In this assignment, you get to plan an experiment from scratch! If you need to brush up on the basics of designing an experiment, you can Watch this video:
The “zero gravity” environment of the space station can make for a lot of interesting experiments, but that’s just a starting point and you can go in another direction if you’d like. As long as your experiment can only be done in space, it will count for this assignment! Check out this article about different studies conducted on the ISS for some potential ideas to get you started, however, you should not be copying these experiments.
Imagine you’re a NASA scientist, proposing an experiment that will be conducted on the ISS to a potential investor/supporter. Your assignment is to write a Research Proposal that contains the following information. Be sure to cite your sources using in-text citations and a reference list in APA format.
Background and Justification: What background information can you give that is relevant to the experiment? Why is this experiment important to conduct? Has other similar research been done? Remember to cite your sources for research.
Variables: What is your independent variable (the quantity you’re changing)? What is your dependent variable (the quantity you’re measuring)?
Constants: What factors have to be kept constant during your experiment? How will you make sure they are kept constant?
Assumptions: Will you be making any assumptions during your experiment? What are they? How would the outcome of your experiment be affected if you assumed incorrectly?
Hypothesis: With all of this information in mind, make an educated guess as to the results. This should be an “If —, then —-” statement.
Materials: What materials will you need? Is there anything special you’d have to bring up from Earth?
Procedure: Create a detailed, step-by-step procedure for the astronauts who will conduct the experiment. Make sure they know how to set up the experiment, what measurements they’re taking and with what frequency, as well as how and where to record information.
Data processing: Once you have your data, what will you do with it? Will you make a graph, and if so, what will it tell you? Will you run a secondary experiment based off the results of the first? How can your data be used back on Earth or on the space station?
1 source per listed area of concentration above.
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