Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!
Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!
Orbiting Around the Idea
Looks like Tomás is starting to get creative with the idea of gravity! The thought of something orbiting Tomás (as small as he is on the cosmic scale) is not as far-fetched as you might think. We usually only think about the bigger things—planets and suns—that have things orbiting them, but did you know that something as small as an asteroid can have moons? Scientists have been able to find as many as 150 asteroids with such moons!
Let’s say Tomás was in outer space (properly outfitted in a spacesuit, we hope). Because Tomás has mass, he will exert a small (really small) amount of gravitational pull on objects near him. If an apple approaches him at a slow enough speed (hold on, why is there an apple floating in space?! Oh, never mind.), it won’t be able to escape his very weak gravity field. Remember when we talked orbits and microgravity earlier? Same concept! Keep in mind, though, that this is all highly theoretical. Just about anything could destroy this unlikely delicate orbit, bad breath included (if you could breathe in space).
Check it out!
Learn more about asteroids on NASA’s Solar System Exploration website. It’s possible for two or maybe even three asteroids to orbit around each other. If Sophie were to join Tomás on his theoretical adventure, they could orbit each other and share the limelight!