NASA: STEMonstration – Solar Energy

Solar energy is essential to keeping the International Space Station functional as it provides a working laboratory for astronauts in the unique microgravity environment.

Watch Expedition 55/56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold as he explains the station’s solar arrays and the importance of solar energy on the space station.

Classroom Connection: Solar Energy

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Required: 50 minutes

Next Generation Science Standards:
HS-ESS3-2
Earth and Human Activity: Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.


Energy (Renewable)
High School, Educator

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Following this activity, students will be able to:
• Understand solar energy and the variables that affect the
operation of solar panels.
• Describe the power requirements of the International Space
Station and how solar arrays supply the necessary power.
• Access data and add it to a table.
• Model solar energy received at multiple latitudes.
• Identify appropriate uses and locations for a solar collector.
• Explain how using solar energy can beneft society.