Magazine article Technology and Children

The Space Place: A Very Special Spaceship

Magazine article Technology and Children

The Space Place: A Very Special Spaceship

Article excerpt

The gleaming spaceship from Earth cruises out of the solar system toward the nearest star. It carries 12 astronauts and everything they will need for the many years it will take to reach their destination.

This space voyage has not happened yet. But NASA scientists already can design a closed space with everything to support life for a long time.

They know that plants use carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen, while animals use oxygen from the air and give off carbon dioxide. How convenient! The trick is to balance them. Too many of one--plants or animals--and not enough of the other, and both will get sick and die.

And what about food? And taking out the garbage? A closed space that supports life needs a food chain. An important link in the chain is bacteria that live on waste. Tiny animals live on the bacteria. Larger animals eat the smaller animals. Plants are necessary too, feeding animals both large and small. …

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