While making spacewalks possible, pressure produces its own problems. An inflated spacesuit can be very difficult to bend. In essence, a spacesuit is a balloon with an astronaut inside. The rubber of the balloon keeps in oxygen that is delivered to the suit from pressurized oxygen tanks in the backpack. But, as pressure inside the balloon builds up, the balloon’s walls become stiff, making normal bending motions impossible. Lack of flexibility defeats the purpose of the spacewalk — mobility and the ability to do work in space. In this activity, students use balloons and rubber bands to demonstrate the pressure inside a spacesuit.
In addition to the lesson plan, a video of the lesson demonstration is now available online.