Sunita in Space
Sunita Williams is an American astronaut. A person who travels to space is called an astronaut. Sunita Williams is an Indian American. This means that she is born in America but at least one of her parents is from India who is now living in the USA.
Space travel is full of excitement and adventure. Yuri Gagarin was the first man to go to space. He was from the USSR, which was the name of the former Soviet Union.
Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon. He was an American. Now-a-days, astronauts go to space more frequently than ever. Sunita Williams made the record of the most spacewalk in space by a woman. Most of you must have heard the name of Kalpana Chawla. She too was an Indian who went to space. Unfortunately, Kalpana Chawla died when her spaceship was burnt while reentering the earth's atmosphere.
This looks like an aircraft. The spaceship is fixed to a rocket so that it can go to space. The rocket is very powerful. It can escape the pull of the earth. A rocket can carry hundreds of kilos to space. Once the spacecraft reaches space, the rocket gets detached from it. After that the rocket burns out in space.
This is a man-made station in space. The International Space Station (ISS) was built with cooperation from many countries. The spaceships reach the ISS and dock with the space station. After that, astronauts exit the spaceship and enter the space station.
Astronauts carry scientific experiments at space station. They also carry out repair and maintenance of space station. Life in space can be difficult. There is no gravity at a space station. Everything floats due to this. Astronauts simply float in and out of a section of the space station. Water floats as blobs. One has to wet a tissue paper with water blobs in order to wash face. Paper is kept in place with the help of clips. A simple task like eating can be very challenging in space.
Gravity on Earth
When you throw a ball in air, the ball always comes down. When you jump in air, you always come down on land. This happens because the earth pulls everything towards it. The pull of the earth is called gravity. Water in the ocean and rivers does not fall off earth because of gravity.
Earth Seen from Space
The earth looks like a giant sphere when seen from space. It appears like the globe in your classroom. But there is a difference. A globe shows boundaries of countries. But such boundaries cannot be seen on earth from space. Boundaries are imaginary lines. They have been made by man. So, when you will travel from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka, you will not see a line at the border.
Question 1: Why do children always slide down the slide and not slide up? If this slide were there in Sunita's spacecraft, would children slide like this? Why?
Answer: We know that the earth pulls everything towards it. Due to this, children always slide down the slide and not slide up. If a slide is put in space, children won't be able to slide like this because there is no gravity to pull them down.
Question 2: Why do we see stars mostly at night?
Answer: Stars are always there in the sky. But during daytime, the sunlight is so bright that stars are not visible. What happens when headlight of a car is on your face? You are unable to see anything other than the headlight. Similarly, we are unable to see stars during day due to sunlight.
Question 3: Looking at earth from the space, Sunita said, "Different countries cannot be seen as separate from here. These lines are on paper. They are made by us." What do you understand by this?
Answer: There are no boundaries on earth. The boundaries between different countries are imaginary lines. They are just drawn on maps.