Transcript for NASAConnect - Mirror, Mirror On the Universe


[Roy] Hi, I am Roy

[inaudible], I bet you don't
know, that the arc created,

when you shoot a basketball
ball involves mathematics.

Hey, when I line up
to shoot - I think,

AX square plus BX plus C equals D,
that worked, I should know, I have

[inaudible] degree which require
mathematics, on this episode

of NASA connect, you
learn all about algebra,

you discover how NASA engineers

and astronomers use algebra
everyday in their work

and see how telescope like
the Hubble Space Telescope

and the next generation's
space telescopes collects data

on our expanding universe.

Or sit tight as Van and Jennifer
explore algebra and telescopes

on this episode of NASA Connect.


[Jennifer Pulley:] Hi, welcome to
another episode of NASA Connect.

The show that connects
you to the world of math,

science, technology and NASA.

I am Jennifer Pulley.

[Van Hughes:] And I am Van Hughes,

we are your host along
with Norbert.

Who is going to be
helping us take you

through another awesome
episode of NASA Connect.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Right every time
Norbert appears, have the cue cards

from the lesson guide and your
brain ready to look for answers

to the questions he gives you and
teachers every time Norbert appears

with a remote that's your
cue to pause the video

and let your students consider
the problems we'll give them.

[Van Hughes:] Today, we
are in Baltimore, Maryland

and this is the Maryland
Science Center.

Its home to the Hubble Space
Telescope's NASA Visitors Center

and it's a lot of fun.

And has three floors
of hands on experiments

to gets students like you
interested in astronomy,

let's go on in and check it out.


[Jennifer Pulley:] Today's
show is called algebra mirror,

mirror on the universe and
this mirror right here.

This is the same size
as the primary mirror

on the Hubble Space Telescope,
but more on the Hubble later.

[Van Hughes:] First let's
learn about algebra.

>> Algebra what's
algebra, sounds scary.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Its
really not, let me show you,

can you read this graph.

I bet, you didn't know that
when you are reading graphs,

you are doing algebra.

Algebra is used to describe
a relationship between two

or more things, for
example in this graph;

we can say that the
number of pizzas is related

to the number of people served.

The more pizzas you have the
more people you can serve,

that's a relationship.

In fact this graph shows
a linear relationship.

A linear relationship means that
the points on the graph appear

to form a straight line, of course
there are lots of relationships

in that but since these examples
don't form a straight line,

they aren't linear, got it?

So looking at this graph how many
people would one pizza serve.

Let's set up a table to show the
relationship we see in the graph.

Let's label our table like this,
N equals the number of pizzas

and P equals the number
of people served.

According to our graph, one
pizza serves two people;

that means there are two
servings in one pizza.

For our purposes, this number of
servings, two, doesn't change.

It's called a constant.

How many people would be
served, if you have two pizzas?

What about three pizzas, you should
begin to see a pattern developing.

Now what if, you are
planning a sleep over

and your mom got carried away and
ordered two hundred fifteen pizzas.

How many people would you have
to invite to your summer party.

Remember the pattern we
saw in the graph and table,

let's use the pattern
we saw in the table

to set up the relationship.

In algebra, letters
called variables,

help us solve algebraic equations.

Remember how we used the
letter N and P in the table

to represent the number
of pizzas and the number

of people being served using
those variables we can set

up an equation like this.

N which is the number of pizzas
times the number of servings

in one pizza equals P which is
the number of people served.

Okay what do we know.

Well remembering that there
are two servings in one pizza

and that your mom ordered two
hundred fifteen pizzas we can

substitute those numbers like this.

Two hundred fifteen times
two equals P. According

to our graph you have to invite
four hundred thirty people

over for your summer party
better tell your mom to cool it.

So you see guys algebra isn't scary
at all in fact algebra is used

to solve problems much tougher
then the one we just did.

[Van Hughes]: And remember
there are lots of ways

to do problems algebraically.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Absolutely,
now that we have got the taste

of algebra, let's find
more about telescope.

1608 was a happening year.

In that year the Italian
scientist Galileo became one

of the first human to
view celestial objects

with the newly invented telescope.

Galileo improved on the design to
see objects ten times more clearly

than ever before possible,

with his primitive telescope
Galileo saw many thousands

of previously invisible stars
that make up part of our galaxy.

The ancient Greeks named our
galaxy The Milky Way because most

of its visible stars appear
overhead on a clear dark night

as a milky band of light
extending across the sky.

Hmm..., how many galaxies do
you think are in the universe?

>> Maybe a couple of trillion.

>> Well I know that
there is atleast one.

>> Three hundred and forty billion.

[Van Hughes]: Those who
are all good guesses.

To get the real answer stay
tuned because later on,

on the show will have the
opportunity to estimate the number

of galaxies in the universe
with our web activity.

[Jennifer Pulley:] During the
centuries following Galileo's

discoveries scientists
created telescopes

of increasing size and complexity.

For more information on telescopes

and something called optics lets
visit Martial Space Flight Centre

in Hindsville Alabama.


[Van Hughes]: What is optics and
how is algebra used in optics?

Optics is a study of light what
it is, how it moves through space

and how it interacts with objects.

Light can be controlled
with lenses and mirrors

and these elements can be combined

in the optical instruments
like telescopes,

lasers and cameras just
like the one being used

to take this picture now.

There are two types of telescopes,
this is a refractor telescope

that has a lense in the front,
this is a reflector telescope

that has no lense but a
mirror in the bottom of it.

The light from the object goes
through the tube is concentrated

by the mirror to form an
image which I see with my eye.

Reflector telescopes
are better for looking

at fine objects like distant
stars and are therefore

for better for astronomy.

I have taken this mirror
out of the telescope

to show you how the
light is focused

down to a spot at the focal point.

This distance from the spot to the
mirror is called the focal length

and there is an algebraic

that relates the distance of the
focal lengths, the distance U

to an object and the distance V
to the image formed by the mirror

that expression is one over F
is equal to one over V plus one

over U. We use this equation
to test telescopes here

at the X-ray calibration facility.

We want to have the objects source
as far away from the telescope

as possible so we put it at the
end of this tunnel which is a third

of a mile or five hundred metres
away then with the telescope

at the other end we
measure the image formed

by the mirror very
precisely to make sure

that the telescope
is built properly

and will focus the stars correctly

and that's how we used
algebra in optics.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Ground based
telescopes have revealed much

over their nearly four
hundred year history

but they are really limited
what they can show us.

Things like light
pollution, cloud cover

and the earth's turbulent
atmosphere interfere

with ground based
telescope observations.

[Van Hughes]: So in 1990 NASA
launched a Hubble Space Telescope

an automated reflecting telescope

which orbits the earth
every 97 minutes.

The Hubble Telescope was named
after Edwin Hubble who discovered

that the universe is expanding

and that the more distant a galaxy
the faster it appears to move away.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Remember
the graph we analyzed beginning

of the show, well Hubble created
a graph that's not too different

from our pizza graph check it out.

Hubble's graph shows
a linear relationship

between distance and velocity.

Remember the linear
equation we used

for the pizza graph N times two
equals P. Well the linear equation

for the Hubbles graph is H times D
equals V. H is the Hubble constant,

it is similar to the number
two in our previous equation,

remember there were two
servings in one pizza.

Anyway D is the distance of the
object and V is the velocity

or speed of the object.

Hey! How would you
like to create a model

of our universe using something
as simple as a balloon.

>> Hi! We are from


Our community consists our many
American native tribes but most

of us are members of
the Sishomi tribe.

They are part of our heritage and
we celebrate by participating in

[inaudible] traditional ceremonies.

We also take pride in
our arts and crafts

that we have learnt
from our elders.

NASA Connect asked us to
help you understand this show

through the activity.

In this lesson you'll learn
about our expanding universe.

You'll also learn how scientist use
models to understand observations

and you get to plot and
analyze data that you'll get

from taking distance measurements

between objects in
your own universe.

[inaudible] We'll
use an analogy to try

to explain a very complex concept.

What's an analogy?

Its simple really it's a comparison

for example sometimes I see my big
brother is like a vaccum cleaner

when he eats.

I use the vaccum cleaner
as an analogy to try

to explain his eating habits.

You guys need an analogy
for the universe

to help you understand the
ideas that it is expanding.

When I look out into space I really
don't see anything expanding,

it's too big.

So you need something like the
universe to help us understand one

of its characteristic
that we cannot easily see.

A good analogy for the universe
expanding would be a loaf

of raisin bread baking in an oven

as the loaf expands the raisins
move away from each other,

the raisins represent galaxies
and the bread represents the.

This is kind of like what happens
in the universe another analogy

for the expansion of the
universe is a balloon,

prints that exists
on the surface of

[inaudible] a balloon for example
of these marks move further apart

as the balloon is blown up,
in just a minute we are going

to measure the distance between
prints on a balloon when it

about a size of a grapefriut
then again when it is blown up to

about a size of your head.

Before we do that here's
something you must understand

about an analogy.

It's only like what it is
compared to in a certain way.

The balloon is not the
universe in other words.

In fact the surface of a balloon
is only two dimensional not three

dimensional like the universe.

It will be very hard to measure
something inside the balloon

because while we can't
get inside of it.

Because we can measure the distance
between point and the surface

of the balloon that
will allow you to verify

where Hubble discovered
about the universe.

He found out the further way
a space object is from us,

the faster it is moving
away from us.

Now that your understanding
about the universe expanding

and how we use models and
analogies to describe it,

your ready to do the lesson.

Separate into groups
then expand your balloon

to about a size of the grapefruit.

Hold the neck of the balloon making

[inaudible] for the
expanded portion,

secure it with a binder clip
to keep air from escaping,

now keep going near
the balloon's equator.

[inaudible] starting from

[inaudible] measure 10 mm,

inner walls along the
balloons equator and mark

[inaudible] label each

[inaudible] with the number
one, measure again the distance

from point number one from home
be sure no air has escaped.

Record the distance
from home to each point.

Be careful not to compress again
the balloon now while making

a mark.

Expand the balloon to about
the size of your head,

measure the new distance
from home to each point

and record the result.

Be careful not to compress or
dent the balloon while making

the measurement.

Calculate the distance
each point moved

by subject against first
recorded distance from home

from the second recorded distance.

Has someone done the calculation,
record the result on a data sheet.

Now the divide the distance
each point travelled

by the time it took or one

[inaudible] to give the expansion
rate this is the rate of expansion

of your balloon, record the results

for each point on your data sheet.

Now you are ready
to plot your data.

Using your data from the universe
data sheet plot the point.

This should tell us
the expansion rate.

Two members should verify that
the points are plotted correctly

on the graph.

[Jennifer Pulley:] So what
conclusions can you make

from these lesson?

>> [inaudible] the
Hubble data graph.

We included a pretty good model
of the way expansion occurs.

Our data showed a linear
patter like the Hubble data.

[Jennifer Pulley:] That's great any
other thoughts about this lesson.

>> We learnt how to
use a metric ruler


>> Science is fun.

>> How are universe expands?

[Jennifer Pulley:] Way to
go by you did a great job.

Hey! Teachers check out
our NASA connect website

and download the lesson
guide from this program.

In it. You'll find this student
activity, data analysis questions,

extension activities and tons more.


>> How do engineers take care

of the Hubble space
telescope while its in space?

[Van Hughes]: Hey guys,
meet Patty Henson.

He works on the Hubble
space telescope project.

Today we are at NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center

in green belt Maryland.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Okay Patty so
far we've learnt about algebra,

objects, telescopes and little
about the Hubble space telescope.

Now what is NASA Goddard doing

to protect the Hubble while
its orbiting around the earth.

[Van Hughes]: Yeah and how do
engineers like you use algebra

on the job.

[Patty Henson]: Well those
are a lot of questions.

Here at Goddard we are
actually servicing part

of the Hubble space
telescope project.

We actually prepare scientific
instruments, computers,

tape recorders to go up on the
shuttle rendezvous with Hubble

and performing servicing
of the telescope.


[ inaudible ]

get the new equipment out of

[ inaudible ]

and then

[inaudible] on the telescope and
we bring the old part back home.

Now when we are getting ready
for a servicing mission,

we have our instruments
in our clean room

and in the clean room we want to
make sure there is no contamination

by getting everyone dressed
in what we call body suits.

And you'll see that everyone
in the clean room is dressed

from head to toe in white.

What this does is t hat it controls
contamination from your clothing

which is lint, your hair, we
don't want any dropped hairs

on our science instruments
and our skin flakes.

Here on Hubble we are really
worried about particulate

and molecular contamination
accumulating on the primary

and secondary mirrors.

Particulate contamination
is like a fine layer of dust

that scatters the light and
doesn't allow it to transmit

through the object and gather
into the detector very well.

Molecular contamination is a thin
film similar to the connotation

that you see on this
mirror when I sprayed it

with the nitrogen cleaner.

This doesn't allow the light

to be transmitted very
well through the object.

Okay Van to get back to your
question about how I use algebra

in my job is that I have a end of
life requirement for the amount

of contamination I can
accumulate on plane objects.

Now for Hubble that's the
primary and secondary mirrors.

End of life is the
amount of contamination

that you can accumulate from
the time that its launched

until the time that we no
longer expect to take science.

And for Hubble that's 20 years.

>> So you are saying that in 20
years you will accumulate some type

of contamination on
Hubble's mirrors.

[Patty Henson]: That is correct.

Okay. And what we do is we
take periodic measurements

and we compare that to our
end of life requirement.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Okay let's look

at the algebra Patty
is talking about.

NASA engineers know that the
total amount of contamination

on the Hubble has
to be less than 5%

or the telescope won't
work the way it should.

Before Hubble was
launched three measurements

for contamination were taken.

The first was eight
tenths of a percent.

The second was six
tenths of a percent

and the third was one
tenth of a percent.

The total amount of
the contamination level

on the Hubble consists of the
amount of contamination measured

on earth plus the amount of
contamination it collects on orbit.

If we substitute the values we
know into the inequality we find

that the amount of
contamination Hubble can collect

on orbit has to be less than 3.3%.

>> Using algebra you
can do that on our

[inaudible ]

lab to accumulate
contamination on both the primary

and secondary mirrors.

>> Hey check it did you know that
the Hubble space telescope is

about the same size
as your school bus

>> This is where all of the data

from Hubble space telescope is
continuously being collected.

Back in 1995 NASA Goddard collected
images from the Hubble deep field.

A few thousand never before
been seen galaxies are visible

in this deepest ever
view of the universe.

>> Hey how would you like to
use the web and real images

from the Hubble space telescope
to estimate the number of galaxies

in the universe and then
compare your findings

with those made by
real astronomers?

[Jennifer Pulley:] Dr.
Shelley Camry helps us do it.

[Shelley Camry]: I'm here
at the science museum

of Virginia in Richmond.

Home of the Apple Corporation
and Imax Dome and planetarium.

This is a wonderful place to visit.

It has over 250

[inaudible] interactive
exhibits where visitors will find

out learning science
is a whole lot of fun.

But you know what?

If we go inside the museum we
are going to find a computer lab

where some students
are waiting for us.

They are going to share with
us the featured online activity

for NASA Connect.

Come on lets go inside.

>> As we have learned how these
students used the internet

to explore new knowledge,

with Hubble Space telescope
scientists can now begin exploring

outer reaches of the universe.

In December 1995 a dark section

of the sky near the
big dipper was selected

for long observation using
camera's located on the telescope.

For 100 hours over a 10 day
period the telescope was pointed

at this part of t he sky we
called this the Hubble deep field.

What the Hubble saw
was thousands of stars

and galaxies beyond what we
could see with our own eyes.

In other words they
confirm the idea

that the universe is a
really, really big place.

In this show we are featuring the
Hubble deep field academy produced

by the space telescope
science institute.

The academy consists of 5 sections.

The first one gets you oriented to
the website and to your mission.

To explore the galaxies of the
Hubble deep field and put one

of humankind long time goals
of seeing as far as possible

into the universe in an attempt
to understand our origins.

The first activity called stellar
statistician introduces you

to an estimating technique
scientists use

called representative sampling.

By counting the number of space
objects in a small section

of the deep field photograph then
multiplying that by the number

of total sections you'll get an
estimate of the number of objects

in the whole deep field.

Activity 2 lets you classify
selected objects based

on their color and shape.

You a camera then try to
classify the 15 numbered objects

in the picture then you'll
see how your choices compare

with those made by astronomers.

Activity 3 presents you with the
problem of determining the distance

between earth and objects in space.

You look at 6 objects and determine

by observation what their relative
distances are from the earth.

Then you'll get to
compare your answers

with those of the astronomers.

The last activity is a
review of what you learned.

You'll answer questions
like what is the difference

between a galaxy and a star.

Why isn't a galaxy size alone used

for determining its
distance from earth?

We've just scratched the
surface of this website.

Along the way you'll get to
view animations and see diagrams

that further explain
facts and concepts related

to the Hubble deep field.

I'm sure you'll find it
to a fascinating extension

to what you've already
learnt in today's program.

And speaking of extensions
let me introduce you

to another exciting

Its devoted space news
to a special portal

to space there you'll
find an interactive photo gallery

of Hubble images you can compare
galaxies, contrast different kinds

of images of the same
exploding star.

Find out about the astronomer
Edwin Hubble and follow the drama

of scientists and astronauts who
fixed the telescope when it broke.

Both the Hubble Academy and
space can be accessed

through Nobert's lab on
the NASA Connect website.

And Oh, a special thanks
to the Science Museum

of Virginia and our AIAA Student

[inaudible] old dominion
university from north of Virginia.

[Van Hughes]: So you see the data
from the Hubble is being used now

but there is a need for
even bigger telescopes

that can see even deeper into
space and collect more information


>> Compare and contrast
the Hubble space telescope

and the next generation
space telescope.

[Jennifer Pulley:] Hey guys Van
and I are with Dr. Eric Smith.

He is an astronomer
at NASA Goddard.

[Van Hughes]: So Dr. Smith, what is
a next generation space telescope.

[Eric Smith]: Well, the NGST

or Next Generation Space
Telescope is the logical successor

to the Hubble Space
Telescope or HST.

NGST is designed to
see the first stars

that light up in the universe.

To do this we need to work in the
infrared part of the spectrum.

So that's one very
important difference.

Another important difference is
just how the telescope looks.

HST looks like a very familiar
telescope to most people.

Lots of tubes its got a
mirror at one end of it.

NGST because it is so large 4 times
the size of HST is going to have

to be cut up and folded in a
rocket and it will be launched

into space and will sort
of bloom like a flower

and it will have a sun shade that
will block light from the sun

and protect its optics.

That sun shade is about
the size of a tennis court.

>> That's huge

[Van Hughes]: It is.

[Eric Smith]: Yeah.

One of the other important
differences between HST

and NGST is where it will be.

HST is about 200 miles above
our heads orbiting the earth.

NGST will be about 1.5 million
kilometers from the earth.

Farther than the moon being
put there so that it can be

in a very cold environment which
again is good for telescopes

that have to work in the infrared.

It also means that no one
will service the NGST.

>> How do astronomers like you
use algebra when you are designing

or dealing with the NGST.

[Eric Smith]: Well algebra is
used in all stages of the design

and construction of a telescope.

Astronomers used algebra
at the very beginning

when they decided how
they wanted to optimize it

and then how they wanted to
optimize for the infrared.

Well you can use algebra
to tell exactly

where you want the
telescope to work and you do

that by studying the galaxies and
where they emit their radiation.

>> You said that the NGST has
a sun shield that's the size

of a tennis court.

[Eric Smith]: And the reason
it has a sun shield is

to protect the telescope optics
from getting sun light on them.

>> Wow. Okay now so you
guys are working here

at the NASA Goddard
on the sun shield?

[Eric Smith]: a little
bit but a lot of work

on the materials are being
done at the NASA Langley.

>> Hey that's where we are from.

Why don't we head down to the heads
of Virginia and meet John Collin

and find out more
about the sun shield.

>> Here at the NASA Langley
research center we are working

on a number of technologies
that are relevant

to the next generation
space telescope.

The sun shield is comprised
primarily of polymer films.

Polymer is a term that means many
repeat units of the same structure.

Common examples of polymers
that you would encounter

in everyday life are things
such as surround wrap,

food packaging material milk jugs,

compact discs things
of this nature.

The materials we are
developing are for primarily

for the outer most shield of the
next generation space telescope.

As you recall this shield is
designed to keep the optics as cold

as possible so the shield
has to be very reflective.

The outer most layer in particular
has to be very reflective

and be resistant to t he
radiation environment.

As you can see the material
looks much like the

[inaudible] balloon that you
might encounter at birthday party

or other type of event.

The chemistry of them is such
that they are much different

and they'll be resistant to
the radiation present in space.

Polymer chemistry uses algebra in
the everyday working activities

in the calculations of
the recipes necessary

to make these advance polymers.

[Jennifer Pulley:]
Well that about wraps

up this episode of NASA Connect.

>> It was a blast wasn't it?

[Van Hughes]: Yeah, it sure was.

Jennifer and I would like to
thank everyone who helped in

[inaudible] this episode.

[Jennifer Pulley:] We sure would
and you know Van and I would love

to hear from you with your
comments your questions your

suggestions your ideas.

So just write us at NASA Connect.

NASA Langley research center,
nonstop 400 Hampton Virginia 23681.

and you know you can find us on the
web at

And teachers if you would
like a video tape copy

of this NASA connect show and the
teachers guide contact CORE the

NASA center operation for
resources for educators or check

out this website to locate

where local NASA educator resource
center all this information

and more is located on
the NASA Connect website.

For the NASA Connect
series I am Jennifer Pulley

And I am Van Hughes See
you next time Bye have fun

>> of the amount of contamination
that I can accumulate

>> don't start laughing

>> Wow

>>easy, easy

>> the invention of the
telescope came about by accident.

A Dutch spectacle maker had
an apprentice who was playing

with lenses one day and found
that if he held 2 lenses in front

of his eyes he saw things
considerably closer than they were.

Immediately the spectacle
maker grasped the importance

of the discovery and in 1608
Hans Liperchi mounted the lenses

in a tube and invented
the telescope.

>> did you know that telescopes
were first called Dutch trunks?