For STEM Friday, we are highlighting the middle grade title Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by Jennifer Swanson.

At first the link between exploring the oceans and exploring space might not seem obvious, but the pioneering men and women who add to our understanding of both regions face similar challenges. Lack of oxygen, cold, darkness, and pressure extremes are just some of the trials they have to overcome.

In addition to loads of information about what exploring space and the deep oceans is all about, the book also explains some of the key science concepts:

  • Gravity and microgravity (in space)
  • Buoyancy and density
  • Pressure and temperature
  • Topography

Chapter 3 compares living inside a space habitat like the International Space Station (ISS) and and underwater habitat. Readers learn the two intersect because astronauts get ready for space by training underwater at Aquarius, an underwater research center off the coast of Florida.

Chapter 4 asks and attempts to answer why do humans explore. Why would someone want to become an astronaut or aquanaut? The final chapter wraps up with what some of the discoveries have been in these two areas, and then mentions that some people have suggested the two areas are similar enough that the government agencies NOAA and NASA should be combined.

Scattered throughout the book are three hands-on activities:

  • Sink or Float
  • Docking the ISS
  • Design Your Own Space Suit

The back matter includes brief bios of ten astronauts and aquanauts, including their training and current positions, which is a great resource for children who might be interested in similar careers.

Astronaut-Aquanaut is a must have for future explorers. It also shows where a career in STEM might lead. Explore a copy today!

Related activities:

1. Investigate Buoyancy and Density with Cartesian Divers

Make a Cartesian diverat Science Bob — has different materials to try and has more suggestions for making a Cartesian diver demonstration a true experiment.

2. Try some astronaut food to accompany the book

It is relatively easy to find novelty astronaut food online, such as:

Astronaut Ice Cream Neapolitan, Mint, Cookies & Cream, Sandwich and Chocolate Chip Freeze Dried Food PACK OF 5


Learn more about the book and author at Nonfiction Monday blog

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (January 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426328672
ISBN-13: 978-1426328671

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher’s representative for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.