Have you ever wondered if magnets are used in space? To mark the upcoming International Space Day next month, we have set out to answer your space-related magnet questions.
There are a lot of uses for magnets in space and even more potential uses for them that researchers are exploring. Unlike a lot of other items you might bring to space that need additional tools or equipment to function, a magnet will work without any extra help. Magnets don’t need gravity or air. Instead, their power comes from the electromagnetic field they generate all by themselves.
One class of magnets, called electromagnets, does need electricity to work. However, if you could run an electric current through one in space, it would still work.
What are Magnets Used for In Outer Space?
Scientists and astronauts make good use of magnets in outer space. Magnetism is one force that remains predictable out there and such predictability is valuable.
NASA’s Mars Rovers also use magnets to collect magnetic dust from the face of Mars. Researchers are hoping that by examining the magnetic dust, they may be able to learn more about the geology of Mars and its minerals.
The Future of Magnets in Space
While magnets have been useful in space so far, there are many more ideas about how we can use magnets to further our space exploration efforts. One idea is to use magnets as fuel. The original computer on Apollo Eleven was powered by a magnet, but the idea hasn’t been made viable for large scale power—yet.
Another idea is to use magnets to shield the space station and other space craft from radiation. Some think we should use magnets to collect broken satellite parts from our atmosphere.
Celebrate International Space Day
In honor of International Space Day, a holiday created in 1997 by the Lockheed Martin Corporation and made into an internationally recognized event by former astronaut John Glenn, there are plenty of activities you can do with the family to celebrate.
- Create a solar system in a box using birchball knobs and various watercolour paints
- Make a swirling sun with just a few simple ingredients including poster board, plastic wrap and tempera paint
- Craft a moon phase memory game with card stock and laminate (you can even add some magnets and put them on your refrigerator!)
- Build a space sensory tub with moon sand and glow in the dark stars and planets
- Mold some galaxy play dough with ingredients from your kitchen.
Magnets are being used in space right now but their applications are endless. We’ll surely find even more productive ways to use these tools in space in the future. Reach out to us at Jobmaster Magnets if you’re in the market for some incredible tools of your own.