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How do distance and inclination affect the amount of heat received from a heat source?
MESSENGER Education is based on the MESSENGER mission to Mercury. In this lesson, students discover that there are two ways to cool an object in the presence of a heat source. One is to increase the distance between the object and the heat source and the other is to change the angle at which the object faces the heat source. Students perform an experiment measuring the heat experienced by a test subject as the distance and the viewing angle changes and relate their results to the reason for the seasons on Earth. Finally, students learn how the MESSENGER mission to Mercury takes advantage of these passive cooling methods to keep the spacecraft comfortable in a high-temperature environment.
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One Celsius thermometer
One sheet of black construction paper
One piece of cardboard
Bricks or blocks
Desk lamp or flood lamp
2-5 meter sticks
Scissors or knife