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written by David Stern
This web page gives instructions for performing mass measurements in the same method used by astronauts on the Skylab space station. Using a hacksaw blade, clamps, bolts, and a watch, the experiment shows how mass may be measured without recourse to gravity. The activity is the third of a 3-part teaching module on mass, developed by the educational website "From Stargazers to Starships".  The first section discusses how such measurements were actually conducted in 1973 aboard "Skylab," and the second gives background information on the Skylab mission.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Space Exploration
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's Second Law
Oscillations & Waves
- Acoustics
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum
= Curriculum support
- Reference Material
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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© 2004 David P. Stern
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 6, 2004 by David Stern
Record Updated:
October 10, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 21, 2004
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This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.

Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion
Unit Title: Newton's Second Law & Net Force

Inertia is proportional to mass, weight is also proportional to mass, too, so both go together. The difference is that inertia is an inherent property of matter, while weight also depends on gravity.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Astronomy
Unit Title: Astronomy Activities

How to measure mass in a weightless environment

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
D. Stern, (2004), WWW Document, (http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm).
D. Stern, Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity, (2004), <http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm>.
APA Format
Stern, D. (2004, September 21). Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity. Retrieved April 29, 2017, from http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm
Chicago Format
Stern, David. Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity. September 21, 2004. http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm (accessed 29 April 2017).
MLA Format
Stern, David. Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity. 2004. 21 Sep. 2004. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "David Stern", Title = {Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {29 April 2017}, Month = {September 21, 2004}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A David Stern
%T Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity
%D September 21, 2004
%U http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Stern, David
%D September 21, 2004
%T Mass - Comparing Masses Without Use of Gravity
%V 2017
%N 29 April 2017
%8 September 21, 2004
%9 text/html
%U http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm

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