Discussion Questions: Glory: The Rough Road to Space
- Think about the hottest possible summer day and the coldest possible winter day. What happens to you when you go from one extreme to the other? What about different materials – what happens to them when they go from hot to cold, and back? What about metal? cotton? glass? How would your experience be different if you cycled through those extremes every two hours instead of over the course of a year?
- What do you think are some ways we could measure how much sunlight is hitting the Earth?
- Have you ever noticed that bridges sometimes include surface gaps? In the winter, those are more noticeable than in the summer. Why do you think engineers would have included those gaps in the design, and why would they be more noticeable in the winter?
- What kinds of questions was Glory designed to help answer?
- What do you think the shape of a polar orbit might be? What’s a sun-synchronous orbit?
- How did NASA scientists try to replicate the conditions Glory would face in space?
- How might Glory’s data on solar irradiance relate to climate science?
- The video mentions vibrations during launch, extreme thermal cycling, and the vacuum of space. What other conditions or factors do you think would be important to consider?
- Why do you think it’s important that Glory’s projected orbit was sun-synchronous?
- Bonus Question: Why do you think some materials are better suited to extreme temperature changes than others? Often, engineers use composite materials for space-based hardware. Why do you think that would be the case?