BELLBROOK — Inquiring minds wanted answers to questions.
How fast is Earth traveling through space?
How long does it take for Mercury to orbit the sun?
What about Neptune?
The answers — 67,000 mph, 88 days, and 164.8 Earth years — were provided by Tim Slauenwhite, a long-time Air Force employee who visited Bellbrook Middle School sciences classes recently. Helping to enhance student knowledge as they prepare for their Challenger Center Mission “Return to the Moon,” Slauenwhite’s presentation included the aforementioned questions and answers along with information about the recent launch of SpaceX and the Tesla Roadster sports car into orbit toward Mars.
Slauenwhite is a Bellbrook parent and community member who has been involved in the launch of more than 27 rockets, working on engineering as well as in Mission Control, and he has worked closely with a number of astronauts. Slauenwhite launched the Delta 11 rocket, and in 1995 at Brandenburg Air Force Base was involved with the launch of the Clementine that gathered images of the moon and mapped its surface. LIDAR was used to measure the moon’s surface.
Slauenwhite also reviewed Newton’s Laws and the Law of Gravitation, the atmosphere, orbital motion. In addition, he reviewed satellites in the lower, medium, and geosynchronous Earth orbits and their various purposes including weather, communications, science, and imagery.
All of these details spurred the enthusiasm of the science students who have been studying the moon and phases of the moon as part of their astronomy unit in preparation for their Challenger Mission.
Students also learned about what astronauts eat, how they exercise, and how water is recycled aboard the spacecraft.