Exploring the Universe: Static Electricity

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    Static Electricity

This activity encourages visitors to build an electroscope—a simplified version of one of the tools scientists use to study the invisible forces on Earth and in space. Participants will learn how static electricity works, how scientists can use it to study space, and how it sometimes presents challenges to tools and spacecraft.



Big Idea

Special tools can help detect invisible forces on Earth and in space.

Learning Goals
  • Engineers and scientists invent and build tools to answer specific questions.
  • Some NASA scientists study how static electricity behaves—here on Earth, in space, and on other worlds.


Year created

This material is based on work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

Museum of Science, Boston



Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.