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Science Experiments From Space

Through an exclusive partnership with NASA, Physics Central is bringing you a series of educational videos from space. Hosted by astronaut Don Pettit, the videos demonstrate a number of fun microgravity experiments performed on the International Space Station.

Known as Science Off The Sphere, the project will provide a new video — and new experiment — every one to two weeks. The second video, called "Bistro-nauts," has been released today. In the video, Pettit addresses the following question: How do astronauts drink in space?

Don Pettit showcases his special cup for drinking coffee in microgravity.

Usually, drinking aboard the ISS requires a straw, but Pettit has found a better way. He developed a new coffee cup that allows him to down his coffee as if he were on Earth despite his current microgravity environment. His special container takes advantage of capillary forces to draw liquid along the side of the cup, making it easier to slurp.

While Pettit has done similar experiments before, he is also supplying brand new material. The first video, for instance, examines how electric potentials can make water droplets dance around a knitting needles. When gravity is essentially out of the equation, other forces tend to dominate in fascinating ways.

For every experiment, Pettit will also pose a challenge question for viewers, and one randomly chosen winner from the pool of correct responses will have their answer read from space!

Check out the Science Off The Sphere page for more information.


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