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Feel Like an Astronaut Disoriented


Feel Like an Astronaut  DisorientedCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jun. 25, 2009) -- Teachers participating in the Space Foundation Space Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo., are learning about space science first-hand, including the effects of space travel on the human body.

One exercise involves the Barany Chair, which simulates spatial disorientation by spinning the occupant. It was invented to train student pilots. The Barany Chair is part of the study of “Neurovestibular System and Disorientation.” It helps the class learn what astronauts and pilots experience in flight, and demonstrates the importance of relying on instruments rather than on their senses.

This week's Space Discovery Institute is one of 17 sessions being conducted this year in Omaha, Neb., Charles County, Md., and Colorado Springs. The week-long programs cover six different topics:
• Biological and Physical Research: International Space Station Science & Space Law
• Astronomy Principles for the Classroom: Exploring our Universe/The Search for Life
• Space Technologies in the Classroom: Nanotechnology and Space Spinoffs
• Earth Systems Science: Planetary Geology
• Lunar/Mars Exploration and Base Construction
• Rocketry: Space History

The elementary-school-through-high-school teachers who attend learn hands-on, minds-on activities and develop lesson plans that they can take back to the classroom. They also gain access to Space Foundation-provided teaching aids and additional lesson plans. The classes can be applied to several master's degree programs through both Regis University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The courses are developed and taught by Space Foundation educators, who are accredited teachers with additional space education credentials. The standards-based curriculum is designed to improve students' skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to motivate them to continue to study STEM topics.

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