Space Settlement relevance

The physiological effects of weightlessness must be considered in the design of orbital space settlements. The Earth creates a gravitational field that acts to attract objects with a force inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the center of the object and the center of the Earth. When measured on the surface of the Earth, the acceleration of an object acted upon is commonly referred to as one g or one Earth gravity. A microgravity environment (space) is one that will impart to an object a net acceleration small (about 1 percent of Earth's gravitational acceleration) compared with that produced by Earth at its surface.
Prolonged activity periods in microgravity result in negative effects on the human physiology. The orbital space habitat must be designed to generate artificial or psuedogravity to minimize these effects.

Related Links


Group size
Group activity/pairs

Time required
Two 45 minute periods


Instructional Goal National standards (5-8) addressed

Student Objectives
Student will:

Prerequisite Knowledge
Concept of gravity, microgravity and weightlessness
Get the materials necessary to conduct the activity. This will vary.

Lesson Activity:

Step 1
Each student will read the background information brief.

Step 2
Have each pair of students use the internet to search for the explanation of each of the following equations. If they need guidance you might suggest the following site: Quest

Step 3
Have each pair of students complete the Falling Water activity. This is a very simple activity that requires the following materials.

Print out activity sheet.

Author: Bryan Yager

Curator: Al Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
Space Settlement hompage

This site was hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018 and is now hosted by:

National Space Society