Here on Earth, when you add an ice cube to a glass of water it floats to the surface, but what happens in space? Nearly 300 Belgian schoolchildren discovered the answer to this question on Tuesday during a live video linkup with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne on board the International Space Station as part of the ISS Day.
The children, aged 10-12 years old, gathered at the Free University in Brussels for a day of activities dedicated to learning about life on the International Space Station (ISS). How do the astronauts wash themselves? How do they brush their teeth? What and how do they eat? And how do they keep fit and healthy? These questions and more were dealt with in the course of the day.
Organised by the Belgian European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO), in collaboration with the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, the ministries of education of the Flemish Region, the French-speaking and German-speaking communities in Belgium, UNICEF Belgium and ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight, the emphasis of the ISS Day was water scarcity in space and on Earth. This theme ties in with De Winne's role as UNICEF ambassador and his support for their Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) campaign.
Water is vital for the health of people on Earth and in space and the day's activities helped the children to make the link between the problems of water management in space and the problems facing millions of people on our planet.
The finale of the ISS Day was a live linkup with De Winne, during which he performed three simple demonstrations to show how water behaves in space. At the end of the call, De Winne answered questions from five children in the audience in Brussels. Watch the video below to find out De Winne's answers.
Q1: Charline De Beucker - Heeft u soms zin om een raampje open te zetten om wat frisse lucht binnen te laten?
(Translation: Do you sometimes feel like opening a window when you need some fresh air?)
Q2: Pauline Carlier - Comment faites-vous pour vivre si longtemps dans l’espace avec aussi peu d’eau?
(Translation: How do you manage for so long with such limited amount of water?)
Q3: Marie Vaassen - Was haben Sie in Ihrem Koffer für Ihre sechsmonatige Reise ins All mitgenommen?
(Translation: What did you bring with you in your suitcase for your six-month stay in space?)
Q4: Jorre Van Dijck - Wat denk jij over commerciële ruimtevluchten? Zal dat over 20 jaar echt mogelijk zijn? En zo ja, in welke toestellen?
(Translation: What do you think about commercial spaceflights? Will this really be possible in 20 years time? If so, which spacecraft will be used?)
Q5: Victor Lhoest - Que faites-vous des déchets?
(Translation: What happens to the waste products?)
(click on the icon top-right for sound)