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June 2, 2010 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Alka-Seltzer added to a water bubble in an experiment on the International Space Station. "Alka-Seltzer added to spherical water drop in microgravity" via Reddit. (SLYT)
posted by zerobyproxy (51 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, what a relief.
posted by box at 3:28 PM on June 2, 2010


Posted to Youtube by Dr. Ben Longmier, whose YouTube channel is a treasure trove of space and science videos. Here's his blog.
posted by zarq at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wonder why our space program is in jeopardy?
posted by item at 3:30 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whoa. It looked at me.
posted by heyho at 3:31 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome. I don't know why, but it makes me wonder what a pint of Guinness would like in zero gravity.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:31 PM on June 2, 2010


...but the question remains: can the bubbles be trained to sort tiny screws in space?
posted by item at 3:34 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I believe it was Crazy Horse who said, and I'll loosely paraphrase -- "The circle is the most sacred shape. Everything tries to be round."
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:38 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did they actually get to SEE the rod?
posted by evilcolonel at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder why our space program is in jeopardy?

Because non-scientists don't trust scientists and can't grasp the significance of scientific research unless the full potential implications of every single experiment are spelled out to them?
posted by The World Famous at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2010 [41 favorites]


Seven year old video..... Wonder what kind of fluid dynamics they're experimenting with these days... Huh huh huh. Also: bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles words sure do sound odd with repetition.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:40 PM on June 2, 2010


But I am a scientist! in my own mind

I admit, this is pretty amazing.
posted by item at 3:41 PM on June 2, 2010


Next up: Adding a Mentos to a spherical blob of Diet Coke.
posted by birdherder at 3:42 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wonder why our space program is in jeopardy?

Because a modern disenchantment with space exploration in the US, in combination with the collapse of a once-bustling Cold War military/industrial drive to minmax the weaponization of the earth's orbit, has rendered the ongoing funding of extraterrestrial excursions politically inconvenient?

I figure it's either that or the whole doing-science-experiments thing, yeah.
posted by cortex at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


This experiment was done in the astronaut's free time with items found in the station, so the only "waste" of your tax dollars came from a few Alka-Seltzer tablets. Well, unless you think astronauts getting Sundays off is a waste...

Here's a NASA page showing this and other experiments he performed.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:53 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome. I don't know why, but it makes me wonder what a pint of Guinness would like in zero gravity.

It'll cost about $1 million to find out.

Cash only, please.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:56 PM on June 2, 2010


Next up: Adding a Mentos to a spherical blob of Diet Coke.

I would pay to see that. If I had enough money to finance a trip to space I would, just to see what happens when you add Mentos to a floating puddle of Diet Coke.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:08 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Been a while since I heard sideband radio. Kinda eerie.
posted by Cranberry at 4:15 PM on June 2, 2010


Adding a Mentos to a spherical blob of Diet Coke.

It would do the exact same thing. In fact, bubbles would start forming in the middle of the blob of soda immediately in zero g. Even before the mentos were added.
posted by empath at 4:23 PM on June 2, 2010


Bacon soda!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:29 PM on June 2, 2010


Argh... wrong thread... :(
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:32 PM on June 2, 2010


Yet... oddly appropriate.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh gee fizz!
posted by ardgedee at 4:54 PM on June 2, 2010


Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz
posted by unliteral at 5:02 PM on June 2, 2010


That's one giant leap for mankind....

Our space program is in jeopardy because we no longer need this Larry Lightbulb PR show to make the nuclear arms race palatable.

Sorry trekkies, you're stuck on this dirt-ball with the rest of us.

Now watch this non-repeatable experiment on the atmosphere....
posted by warbaby at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Have you ever dissolved an alka-seltzer tablet... IN SPACE!??!
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 5:25 PM on June 2, 2010


Stupid pet trick? Most expensive science lesson ever taped?

Interesting. And possibly worth some part of $150 billion.
posted by Twang at 5:32 PM on June 2, 2010


Science is so cool.
posted by rtha at 5:50 PM on June 2, 2010


...the only "waste" of your tax dollars came from a few Alka-Seltzer tablets.

I once had someone from a NASA research lab tell me that it costs $22,000 a pound to put something in space. This was about 10 years ago (a few years before the video was shot).

Now, if I had a scale and a tablet I could tell you how much money was spent. Or actually, I probably couldn't because I suck at math.

Oh, and this NASA person wasn't like some guy in charge of the program, so I don't know if that quoted figure is accurate or something he just made up.

I love space. I find it tragic were mothballing our shuttles before we have something in place to replace them.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:52 PM on June 2, 2010


cjorgensen, that seems like an accurate figure particularly for the contents of manned craft. I think it's a bit cheaper, maybe $14,000, for plain old satellites that don't need oxygen, water, and all that jazz.

An Alka-Seltzer tablet weighs a bit over 2 grams, so those tablets delivered to orbit are worth very close to USD$100 each.

Think of it as a new way of burning $100 bills.
posted by localroger at 6:33 PM on June 2, 2010


An Alka-Seltzer tablet weighs a bit over 2 grams, so those tablets delivered to orbit are worth very close to USD$100 each.

Think of it as a new way of burning $100 bills.


Meh. They were going to take them to space regardless of whether they played around with them when they got there.
posted by The World Famous at 6:34 PM on June 2, 2010


Very neat.

I wanted to stick a straw in that sphere and drink it up.
posted by Skygazer at 6:46 PM on June 2, 2010


THe World Famous, I didn't say the $100 bills weren't destined to burn up on re-entry anyway, just that they're being burned. (I actually thought it was a pretty cool demo, but yeah $100 for an Alka-Seltzer seems a bit steep. Then again I didn't even ask about the steak.)
posted by localroger at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2010


An Alka-Seltzer tablet weighs a bit over 2 grams, so those tablets delivered to orbit are worth very close to USD$100 each.

My god, you're right. And that $100 could have gone to so much better use paying for three hundred milliseconds of our annual military budget.

Seriously. This is a PR exercise that's worth a hundred times that. NASA makes a commercial for the space program, it gets shown half a million times on YouTube, and all it costs is a hundred bucks? I wish more agencies in our government were thinking like that.
posted by EarBucket at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2010


A hundred bucks? The federal budget for 2010 is, what, 3 trillion? If the federal budget were a year, a hundred bucks would be a millisecond.
posted by box at 6:53 PM on June 2, 2010


On preview, trust EarBucket's numbers instead. I majored in modern poetry.
posted by box at 6:56 PM on June 2, 2010


This webpage says it's about $22,000 per kilogram ($10,000 per pound), so 3 grams is more like $66.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:01 PM on June 2, 2010


this video of bubbles forming cylinders in rotating water spheres is really interesting too. (actually almost more interesting). Rather then rising to the surface as they would under water, the bubbles all move to the center of the rotating sphere under the centrifugal force.
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on June 2, 2010


This kind of experiment could have been done on earth using a super computer, but it would probably have been cheaper to send the little tablet into space.
posted by delmoi at 7:05 PM on June 2, 2010


This experiment was done in the astronaut's free time with items found in the station, so the only "waste" of your tax dollars came from a few Alka-Seltzer tablets. Well, unless you think astronauts getting Sundays off is a waste...

Surely the costs of recording the experiment, including posting the video online, are more than the cost of the Alka-Seltzer tablets. I'm not saying the costs are high or that it wasn't worth it -- just saying, government work does cost money even if it's done on "free time."
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:09 PM on June 2, 2010


(Woops, I wrote that before seeing that they supposedly cost $100.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:10 PM on June 2, 2010


Awesome!

In other news, the cost of a single F-35 joint strike fighter has risen to $112 MILLION. PER PLANE. Which brings us to a tidy sum of $382 billion...WHAT? We spent 21 NASA ANNUAL BUDGETS buying a fleet of planes designed to kill people in outdated ways?

I'm not going to tell you how many Alka-Seltzer tablets in space that could have bought you.

Yes, the JSF is a kickass piece of technological droolfodder, but still. $382 BILLION. That's $1,200 per American!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:19 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


sorry for the GRAR derail
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:20 PM on June 2, 2010


We spent 21 NASA ANNUAL BUDGETS buying a fleet of planes designed to kill people in outdated ways?

Man, if they kill me in an outdated way, I will be so indignant about it. I want a cutting edge death, dammit.
posted by The World Famous at 7:22 PM on June 2, 2010


I want a cutting edge death, dammit.

Nanobot assassins FTW!
posted by EarBucket at 7:24 PM on June 2, 2010


it's about $22,000 per kilogram ($10,000 per pound), so 3 grams is more like $66.

Seems pretty reasonable. They should rent space in lightweight safety deposit boxes, so anyone could say, "this thing has been in space," no matter what it was.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:57 PM on June 2, 2010


It's a damn shame that I'm the first to say that that was Don Pettit doing the science. He's got a recognizable voice, like Crispin Glover.

That was filmed during Expedition 6 in 2002-2003. Don went up to space again on the STS-126 space shuttle mission in 2008; they don't have much time for these things during the busy, compressed shuttle mission timelines, but I do recall him demonstrating drinking coffee out of a ziplock bag using capillary action.

Don is scheduled to go up to ISS on Expedition 30, in late 2011, so we can look forward to more of this then. A LOT more, actually, because since May 2009 the ISS crew has been able to do a lot more science and fun stuff like this. That's when the ISS reached a construction milestone and was finally able to double the crew size from 3 to 6. Less time cleaning air filters and more time running the labs.
posted by intermod at 8:05 PM on June 2, 2010


I love science.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:21 PM on June 2, 2010


Getting the scotch which made the Alka Seltzer necessary the next 'day' into orbit probably cost a lot, too. The straws for drinking it less so.

But drunken astronaut zero-g shenanigans are worth every damn cent.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on June 2, 2010


$66, same as in orbit...
posted by warbaby at 9:17 PM on June 2, 2010


In space no one can hear you fizz.
posted by yiftach at 12:11 AM on June 3, 2010


Now I really want to see them do this in the airlock while it's being depressurized.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:57 AM on June 3, 2010


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