Aliens, Planets and Nebulae! Emergency Stop: Distress Signal

This is the first MicroMission – The crew just received a distress signal from within the Y-Nebula.

MicroMission: Emergency Stop: Distress Signal

Location: Y-Nebula

Description: After Mission 3 with the Shippy-McShip-Face (SMSF), the crew received a distress signal from a neighboring space log (Log-4242). The crew analyze sensor data from Log-4242 and find that it is spinning end over end with a ship caught in the middle. The Log is 2000 km long and the crew observed that it spun around 600 times in 300 seconds.

The message in the distress signal is this: “I am at the center of a log that got hit with an asteroid and is now tumbling. My sensors are down and I need to know the revolutions per minute to be able to escape.”

The message then added: “If possible could the crew give me an inequality or range of possible average speeds to escape within one revolution. Instantaneous acceleration can be assumed. Even a single flight path would be helpful.”

Assignment: The crew needs to find the revolutions per minute and show their work.

Additional/challenge problem: The log is continuing to spin – so what are the possible flight paths within one revolution? There would be a minimum and a maximum distance problem here. Facilitators can accept one solution or many depending on class abilities. What would the range of average speeds be? This is a tough problem.

Note: This is a good time for the facilitator to add conditions for solutions to incorporate other subjects (science, history, writing, etc.).

Ability Point Potential:

  • 2 Ability points for sending the correct revolutions per minute (rpm) to the ship in distress.
  • 2 Ability points for sending at least one possible flight path.
  • 2 Ability points for giving a range of average speeds required.
    • Note: Award points for partial solutions of the challenge problem.

Facilitator Notes:

  • Facilitator may want to skip the second part or modify it. The idea here is to have learners think through flight paths and what those distances would look like in a revolution (spiral).

Once learners submit their response to the distress signal, award ability points and move on to Mission 4.

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