Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Wringing a Wet Towel in Orbit
Posted on 04/24/2013 3:38:50 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: What happens if you wring out a wet towel while floating in space? The water shouldn't fall toward the floor because while orbiting the Earth, free falling objects will appear to float. But will the water fly out from the towel, or what? The answer may surprise you. To find out and to further exhibit how strange being in orbit can be, Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield did just this experiment last week in the microgravity of the Earth orbiting International Space Station. As demonstrated in the above video, although a few drops do go flying off, most of the water sticks together and forms a unusual-looking cylindrical sheath in and around the towel. The self-sticking surface tension of water is well known on Earth, for example being used to create artistic water cascades and, more generally, raindrops. Astrophysicists: Browse 600+ codes in the Astrophysics Source Code Library
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Chris Hadfield twitter page.
While most of the water stayed with the cloth and his hands I noticed what looked like a large number of drops being flung off and floating away. I wonder if they had to break out vacuum hoses to clean them up before the water hit electronics.
That was a very fascinating experiment, but let me tell you, it takes awhile to get used to free-floating in micrograv w/o “feedback”....