How to Build A Time Capsule: A True Test of Perseverance

Learn about NASA's Mars rover Perseverance while you learn how to build a time capsule.

Have you ever wanted to preserve time? Let us teach you how to build a time capsule! While you gather your materials and bulid your time capsule, check out this video about NASA's latest Mars rover, Perseverance.

On July 30, NASA is set to send its next rover to Mars. Our very own Science Interpreter Spencer served on a panel of judges that narrowed down the list of names. Then, the nation, and many of you, got to vote on its name!

The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for a possible return to Earth.  

Materials you will need:

  • Scissors  
  • Hot Glue 
  • Paper 
  • Pencil 
  • Cylinder that is opened on both ends 
How to build a time capsule

Directions:

STEP 1:

Take your hot glue gun and glue around the base of your cylinder. Once you have completed the ring, quickly place the cylinder onto one or the cardboard squares and wait for the glue to dry.  

Building a time capsule materials

STEP 2:

Take your scissors and cut the excess cardboard off of the cardboard square that was glued to the bottom of your cylinder.  

Assembling a time capsule

STEP 3:

Put the objects inside the time capsule that you have decided to preserve. We choose wooden tokens that represent the different exhibits and programs we put on here at the science center. You should choose something with meaning but nothing that you won’t miss for being gone for too long. 

add things to your time capsule

STEP 4:

With your piece of paper and pencil, write yourself a note. It is always fun to read a note that you wrote in the past. Make it about what you think life might be like when you open the time capsule and why you choose the items that you did.  

add a note to your time capsule

STEP 5:

Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the lid side of the cylinder to seal in the objects and the note inside the time capsule.  

seal your time capsule

STEP 6:

Decorate! We choose to laser cut out some gears to glue all over our time capsule, but you can decorate your time capsule however you like. Make sure you leave some room for a warning label so nobody opens your time capsule too early.  

decorate your time capsule

STEP 7:

Once you finish decorating you should label your time capsule with a warning label so that way if anyone finds your time capsule they won’t open it too early.  

Lastly, decide where you are going to store your time capsule. You can keep your time capsule in many places, your closet, or even under your bed. If you bury your time capsule, make sure your time capsule can endure the elements!

How did your time capsule turn out? We'd love to see it! Submit photos or videos of your projects to the OSC Science Showcase for a chance to be featured!  

store your time capsule

Expand on the activity!

Learn more about NASA's Mars Exploration Program:

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DIY Moon Sand: An Out-Of-This-World Activity Right at Home

Have a blast with this stellar DIY moon sand recipe!

Have you ever looked up at the moon and noticed that the moon looks sort of like cheese? That’s because the moon’s surface is made up of craters and rocks. Craters are holes in the Moon’s surface formed by impact from an asteroid, which is a chunk of rock and metal in outer space. Using our DIY Moon Sand recipe, you too can experiment and make your own moon craters!

These recipes call for various food items but it is not to be consumed! Keep an eye out for this when little ones are playing with their moon sand. We do recommend doing this activity outside if possible as it does tend to get messy.

Materials for DIY Moon Sand:

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of baby oil
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rocks of various sizes 
  • Mixing spoon *optional
  • Play bin *optional

Materials for Gluten-Free DIY Moon Sand:

  • 2 cups of baking soda/powder
  • 2 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of baby oil
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rocks of various sizes 
  • Mixing spoon *optional
  • Play bin *optional

Directions:

STEP 1:

  • First, measure out your dry ingredients and add them to your mixing bowl, this will be your flour or baking soda/cornstarch base. When you scoop these ingredients into your measuring cups, make sure you level off the cup to make sure you get a full cup!
ingredients for DIY moon sand

STEP 2:

  • Next, we will add in our liquid ingredients. Measure out the designated amount of oil to add to your mixture and carefully pour it into your bowl.
Add liquid ingredients to moon sand

STEP 3:

  • Here’s where it starts to get messy! Start to mix all of your ingredients together. You can mix with your hands or a large mixing spoon. Your dry ingredients will absorb the oil and start to stick together while still remaining soft. The best moon sand texture is crumbly, but still able to be molded together.
combine ingredients

Now that you have made your moon sand, you can start making your own craters!

Our moon sand is nice and soft but is perfect for making impressions. Gather a few rocks of different shapes and sizes. Through this activity, children will be able to experiment and make observations about their craters while changing variables of the activity. How will your results change?

Experiment: Even out your moon sand to form a layer at the bottom of your bowl or bin. Stand over your moon sand and gently drop different rocks onto the surface. You can measure the size of your craters with a ruler by how many inches wide or deep it is. Record your results, you can write or draw the way your crater looks and take note of your measurements to compare later.

Try some of these variations and observe how your craters change:

  • Drop your asteroids from different heights
  • Instead of an even layer, build up your moon sand into a mountain and try dropping your asteroid onto it and see what happens.
  • Try making your moon sand look like the moon by forming all kinds of craters of all shapes and sizes in your sand.
  • Mold your moon sand into different phases of the moon

 

Experiment with your DIY moon sand
make a crater
crater in moon sand

Make Conclusions

Which rocks made the deepest impressions? What happened to your craters when you changed the height at which you dropped your asteroids? What did your data tell you about your experiment?

If you had fun making moon sand crater creations and snapped some photos, be sure to submit it to our Science Showcase here or tag Orlando Science Center and use #OSCatHome on social media! You might be featured on our channels.

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Top Five Tips To Begin A Stargazing Hobby

Ever find yourself looking to the shimmering, starry night sky wanting to learn more about what cosmos and constellations are above you?

 

Astronomy can be an expensive hobby, but the good news is you don’t need a telescope to enjoy the night sky! Our space experts here at Orlando Science Center have compiled the best stargazing tips for beginners, so you can enjoy the stars and constellations above.

 

  1. Star Finder App –If you are unfamiliar with navigating the night sky, you’ll want to bring a star finder app to assist. There are several options available for both iOS and Android like Star Walk, Sky Guide, or even Google Sky Map. If you are serious about learning the sky, you may also want to consider printing out some star maps and learning how navigate by hand. You’ll be able to familiarize yourself in not time!

  2. Red Flashlight – If you’ve ever been to the Observatory, you've probably noticed that we only use red light when stargazing. Red light is the lowest energy form of visible light, so using it allows us to keep our night-vision intact so we can see the sky in more detail. You can also change the display on your phone to show red light so that you can use your device without sacrificing visibility. Click here for an inexpensive and highly reviewed red flashlight from Amazon, and if you’d like to help out Orlando Science Center at the same time, please consider using smile.amazon.com and making Orlando Science Center your preferred charity. By doing so, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to support our engaging programs and exhibits.

  3. Chairs and Blankets – If you are going to be trekking to a dark area to stargaze, you may want to stay a while. So why not be comfortable? Make sure to bring some folding chairs or blankets so you can sit back and watch the sky for hours.

  4. Bottles of Water – Anywhere that is dark enough for sky viewing is likely not going to have a clean source of drinking water. You’ll want to bring some reusable bottles of water to stay hydrated. And maybe your favorite snacks! Remember, if you venture out into nature leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time. If you do bring snacks, remember to take the wrappers and any other trash home with you.

  5. Bug spray – When you are going to be outside for any length of time, you’ll definitely want to bring some bug spray. This is especially true in Florida, even more so during summer.

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!