So we were at the Space Center last Friday for the World Space Expo, and Frank and I were walking by the model of the International Space Station.
FRANK J.: What are those things hanging down from the Space Station?
SARAHK: I don’t know. Maybe they’re solar panels.
SARAHK: No, those are solar panels up above, I think. I don’t know, maybe they’re wind panels.
FRANK J.: Wind panels. Okay, what would be the purpose of wind panels in space?
SARAHK: Um… I don’t know. To help move it along.
FRANK J.: Is there wind in space?
SARAHK: Um… maybe. Maybe it can catch a draft from the Space Shuttle when it flies by.
FRANK J.: Is that likely?
SARAHK: I don’t know.
FRANK J.: What’s in space?
SARAHK: A vacuum.
FRANK J.: Uh-huh…
SARAHK: And there’s no wind in a vacuum?
FRANK J.: Very good!
SARAHK: Well, you don’t know that. Have you ever been in one and tested that?
FRANK J.: What do you need for wind?
SARAHK: Stuff… and air…
Then the conversation moved to how Mythbusters should do a show on that scene from Armageddon where the ISS blows up, and there’s a big outward explosion. And Frank became the cutie head:
FRANK J.: Yeah, how would they do that experiment?
SARAHK: Uh. They can create a vacuum and explode a model inside the vacuum.
FRANK J.: Oh yeah, they have the equipment for that.
So. What are those things hanging down? Best I can tell from looking at the interactive model on NASA’s website, they’re radiator panels.