Computers and maths in space

Mathematics plays a vital part in space flight, it gives us a way both to predict what should happen in the future and also ways to measure what’s actually happening in the present, and adapt to it. In this resource we look at a few places where maths helps in space flight. The maths is made simple here (it’s far, far more complicated in reality), but the exercises will help students explore basic ideas and get a feel for the significance of maths in space.

The lesson is structured in activity sections

• Maths tools - covers basic maths ideas in accelerometers and GPS

• Getting up – a maths activity related to docking at the ISS

• Getting down – a maths activity related to re-entry of the capsule

Each activity uses simple maths ideas and hands on calculations but set in an engaging context of space exploration.

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