If you encounter an emergency situation in the wilderness, you can get fresh water from the soil from a solar helper. Try it out in your back yard first, and show kids how it's done -- it's a potentially life-saving technique, but it's also a potential science fair project.
What You'll Need:
- Clear plastic sheet
How to Make a Solar Helper:
Step 1: Dig a hole several feet deep or until you hit moisture. Set a flowerpot in the bottom of the hole. Lay a sheet of clear plastic over the hole.
Step 2: Weigh the edges with heavy rocks and seal the hole with dirt. Set a rock in the middle of the sheet, over the pot, so that the plastic leans in.
Step 3: Water will bead on the plastic sheet. Heat from the sun, trapped in the hole, makes water evaporate from the damp soil. The water condenses on the sheet then drips into the pot.
Step 4: If you are lost and you can't find damp soil, cut some plant material and drop it in the bottom of the hole. Any moisture in the plants will evaporate, condense on the plastic, and drip into the pot. While you wait, stay in the shade to conserve body moisture.
Harness the raw power of the sun to cook a hot dog. Find out how in the next section.