Wiki #1: Electronics

There are many different electronics, but they are all produced by electricity. There are two different electrical signals, analog signals and digital signals. Analog signals contain information and move in a smooth, continuous way. Most TVs, VCRs, radios and telephones are analog signals so the information does not get chopped up and is smooth. The electric current increases or decreases smoothly in time. An example of an analog signal would be a loud-speaker of a stereo system. When the volume is turned up the sound increases slowly and constantly. A digital signal does not vary smoothly, but changes in jumps or steps. It may chop up information. An example would be a digital clock. The time does not smoothly go from one time to another, it jumps. It does not have to smoothly go from second to second, like a analogy signal. Semiconductors are useful in electronic devices because it can be controlled much more easily than a conductor, which can sometimes make it easier to use in electronic devices. They are also useful beucase their conductivity can be changed. Their conductivity can change if you add impurities. Impurities are substances inside a confined amount of liquid, gas, or solid, which differ from the chemical composition of the material or compound. In some instances electricity is only conducted by semiconductors if there is a high temperature or low voltage. They can also be helpful because semiconductors do not like to conduct electricity, so they will only conduct it if the action is in complete motion. Inside of the diode they are two different types of semiconductors, p-type and n-type semiconductors. They help make the electrons flow in one direction and not try to back track. A transistor is a solid-state component as well, but it can be used to amplify signals in an electric circuit. It can also be used as an electronic switch. The electronic signals cause it to allow current to pass through it or block the flow of the electrons. An integrated circuit contains large numbers of interconnecting solid-state components and is made from a single chip of semiconductor material suck as silicon. It is a chip that can hold thousands of transistors and diodes at once. All of these materials are very helpful in making electronics work.

Finding out this information about electronics will help the mission to mars. The space ship is made up of differnet systems, signals, and circuits. All different signals and circuits are needed for different parts of the ship. Along with the robot. It will need to have different circuits and signals. This information will be very important in our space trip to mars because it will help us to understand the meaning of the materials needed for the trip. Understand how to work the different materials and what their purposes will help in creating the different electronics needed for the trip.

Wiki 2- History of the Rocket

Rocketry has been around since about 100 B.C. The first device was built by a Greek inventor named Hero of Alexandria. She used steam as a propulsive gas. She put a sphere on top of a water kettle, a first below the kettle to turn the water into steam and the gas traveled through pipes of the sphere. Then two L- shaped tubes were placed on opposite sides of the sphere. The gas escaped out these tubes, and when the gas escaped it made a thrust causing the sphere to move. In the first century A.D. the Chinese started to have simple forms of gunpowder. It was made out of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal dust. To create an explosion the Chinese would fill bamboo tubes with a mixture and toss them into fires. They began experiments with the gunpowder-filled tubes. Sometimes they would attack explosive filled bamboo onto a stick and launch them with bows. They then noticed that the gunpowder tubes could launch themselves with the escaping gas produced. This was known as the first true rocket. When the first dated true rocket was reported the Chinese and Mongols were at war against each other. They Chinese used their fire arrows on the Mongols. They were solid-propellant rockets. It was a tube, capped at one end, and contained gunpowder. The non-capped end has a stick out of it. When the powder was light, the burning powder produced fire causing a thrust. Once the battle was over, the Mongols produced rockets of their own. Roger Bacon, a monk, worked on improving forms of gunpowder. This new gunpowder would allow the rocket to move farther.


Figure 1: Hero of Alexandria's creation

All different scientist experimented different ideas on how to improve the rocket. A Russian school teacher, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, came up with the idea of space travel. He said that the speed and range of a rocket were limited only by the exhaust of the escaping gas. He has been called “the father of modern astronautics.” Goddard was another person who researched the rocket. He invented the gasoline rocket and it began a whole new era in rocket flight. He experimented in liquid propellant rocket and continued to research it for many years. Every experiment made his rocket fly higher and made it bigger. He developed a system for flight control and many other flight related materials. In the 20th century small rocket societies started to pop-up all over the world. In Germany, the Verein fur Raumschiffarty led to development of the V-2 rocket. This rocket was used in WWII. It was a small comparison to today’s rocket. It had great thrust by burning a mixture of liquid oxygen and alcohol. Both the United States and the Soviet Union realized the prospective of rocketry. All different types of missiles were developed. This was the starting for the U.S. space program. People were stunned when they heard that an Earth- orbiting artificial satellite was launched by the Soviet Union. The satellite was the first successful entry in a race for space between the two nations. Then they launched a dog into space. The Sputnik was the name of the satellite and it was in the shape of a sphere. A few months later the United States launched a satellite of its own. They came us with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) after this launch. It because a civilian agency with the goal of peaceful exploration in space for all people. Many people and machines then because to launch into space. These discoveries and improvements made overtime has helped the United States accomplish a goal of a human going to the moon and many other places. To this day they are still making changes to rockets.

Figure 2: Satellite sent up to space by the Soviet Union

Rocket Stages Animation

Learn more about this project

Model Rocket Parts Labeled

Figure 3: Labeled Rocket

Wiki #4- Does the mass of an object affect the altitude it flies?

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if the mass of an object affects the altitude that it can travel. In performing the experiment, every table built a rocket. Everyone built the rocket the same way so they each weighted the same amount, but then we painted them. When painting them, the amount of paint placed on the rocket affected the mass. The more paint, the more mass. Once done painting the rocket, we launched it off of a launch pad and igniting the rocket. There were two students 100 meters away calculating the height it traveled, in degrees, with an angle gun. Both students would measure it and then take an average of the two different degrees. To find the altitude we used the tangent of the angle and multiplied it by 100. I hypothesized that the more mass, the higher the rocket would travel. I was wrong. The rocket with the 2nd to most mass flew the lowest, and the rocket with the 2nd to least mass flew the 2nd highest. This shows that the mass of an object does not affect the height that it flies.

Once placing our rocket on the launch pad and igniting it, the rocket flew in a straight line upward. While flying in the air it was in a spiral motion, and after a little bit it started to move side to side. When it hit it's highest point and the parachute ejected out, the wind started to move the rocket. The rocket started moving behind us because the wind was strong. Once the rocket started to recover back to the ground, it hit the basketball court. When we ran after the rocket to go get it, we noticed that the tips of the parachute were burned and some parts of the parachute were stuck together.
Figure 4: Altitude vs. Mass Graph

The graph above shows the mass of each rocket and the altitude that it flew. As you can see the mass did not affect the altitude flown. In most instances, a heavier rocket will travel farther, but not in this instance. The 2nd least weighing rocket at 42.1 g traveled the 2nd furthest distance at 44 m. Whereas, the 2nd heaviest rocket at 44.7 g traveled the least distance at 37 m.

The Importance of Astronomy in the Search for Life on Mars

Astronomy is a very importance part in our search for life on Mars. Astronomy is a certain type of science that deal with the shape, celicital objects, and the physical Universe as a whole. These different objects include stars, planets, nebulas, star clusters, and glaxies. Astronomy will help us in our search for life on Mars because mars is a planet that orbits the sun, and if it weren't for astronomy we would not have known this. If also helps us locate the position and where we are. Astronomy also allows us to find out the functions, formation, and rotation of planets, galaxies, and stars. It also helps us determine whether or not there could be life on a planet. Astronomy will help us in our search for life of Mars.

To lear more about astronomy to to this link: More Information About Astronomy

History of Robotics

People wondered how to make things easier. This dream came true hundreds of years ago. People are not sure when the first robot was built, but they know who build it. It was a mathematical named Archytas. Robots were made to help humans life easier. Not only did they help to make life easier, they also could act as a computer. In 350 B.C. Archytas build the first mechanical bird. It was propelled by a steam engine. In 322 B.C. a philosopher says how nice it would be to have robots around, and in 1495 DeVinci has an idea to build a device that looks like an armored knight. He calls it, "Leonardo's Robot". That is just one examples of many inventions made to represent a robot. In the 1900's robots were being produced, but in 1921 the word "robot" came about.


Robots were then appearing everywhere. They were making them with different jobs. Some were to go on the moon, some were to be used in classrooms, and some were just for fun. Different characteristics came when robot programs were being produced. Today, robots are being sent onto different planets to see what is there. They are programed to do everything by themselves. There are others that are programed to move to different sounds and to make noises. Different jobs for robots are being built every day. If people had not come up with the idea of robotics then some discoveries made today would not have been possible. Robotics has changed the world.


Robot Programming

For a robot to move it has to have motors. All robots have at least 3 motors, but some have more. One motors job is to turn to the left, the other motors job is to turn to the right. The final motors job is to go forwards and backwards. Additional motors are used to move different parts of a robot. When programing a robot to go forwards and backwards you can use rotations. The rotations are measured upon how many times the wheel turns in a complete circle. For example, if the robot went 5 rotations forward, it means that the wheel spun in a complete circle 5 times. When programing a robot to turn it is a little bit different. Instead of measuring it in rotations, you measure it in degrees. To turn the robot at a 90 degree angle you would actually but 180 degrees in. The program below shows a robot going backwards.

Robot going backwards.

Another way to program a robot to move is by using sensors. Different sensors make the robot do different things. In class we used 4 different sensors, sound sensor, touch sensor, light sensor, and ultrasonic sensor. The sound sensor enables the robot to reach to different sounds. The touch sensor enables the robot to feel and react to its environment. The light sensor enables the robot to detect different lights and colors, and the ultrasonic sensor allows the robot to measure distance and react to movement. When using these different sensors we completed different challenges by programing our robot to use these sensor to react and adapt to its environment. The picture below shows the robot using the touch sensor. The robot goes forward until it touches something and once it touches something the robot stops.


How to Determine if there is Life on Mars

To determine if something is living, it has to have eight different characteristics. These characteristics are that they have to be made of cells, need materials, homeostatic, respond to stimuli, reproduces, grows, adapted, and respiration has to occur. To tell if something is made of cells it has to have the fundamental units of a living thing. Cells are organized into different categories, and some of those categories are tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms. When a things needs materials, it means that to live they have to have these different resources. Living things need water, minerals, and air to live. Most often they get what they need from the environment. Different living things need different materials. Humans need calcium for their bones and iron is needed for blood, whereas plants need CO2 and water to make sugar (photosynthesis). To be alive you also need to be homeostatic. Homeostatic means internally living things stay about the same despite environment change. To stay homeostatic living things have to expend a great deal of energy. As before, all living things are homeostatic, but they maintain this in different ways. Humans are homeostatic because their temperature, excretion, and they repair, so they can stay the same. Excretion is getting rid of waste products, and this is one thing that all living animals have that is they same. All animals get ride of their waste, but it might be in different ways. Microorganisms get rid of waste through their cells walls by diffusions, and plants get rid of their waste by storing wastes in their vacuoles, deciduois plants can store their waste in their leave, and some leach out wastes through their roots. There is also have to respond to stimuli to be alive. A stimulus is anything that causes living things to react, and a response is the reaction to a stimulus. There are two types of responses, positive and negative. Positive response is when it moves towards a stimulus, and negative response is when it moves away. Something that is alive also has to reproduce. Reproduction is the process by which organisms produce offspring of their own kind. plants and animals repoduce in a variety of ways. Two ways are sexual and asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is with two parents, and asexual is with one parent. They also have to grow. All things develop from a lower to a higher form. Living things also have to adapt. Adaptation is the modifications that make an organism suited to is't way of life. Different animals adapt in different ways. Evolution is the process by which characteristics of species change through time. Respiration also has to occur for something to be alive. Respiration is the releasing of energy stored in the chemical bonds of sugar. Something that does respiration either is a consumer or a producer. A consumer is an organism that must take in food to sustain life.A producer is something that creates their own food.


If a substance has all the characteristics listed above, then it is alive. Even if an object has 7 or the 8, it is not alive. It has to have all of the characteristics. In Mars, test have already been taken on different object to see if they are alive or not, but they have all turned out negative. With each characteristic a different test must be performed. An example of a test to determine if the object has cells, you could use a microscope. You could also get a sample of an objects DNA and compare it to living things to see if they match and have some of the same features. There have also been thoughts of life on Mars, for many people say "aliens" are from Mars. For every feature a living object must have there are different ways to determine whether or not it has those.