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Water Droplets In Orbit On the International Space Station

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the can-i-be-an-astronaut-when-i-grow-up dept.

ISS 159

BuzzSkyline writes "Astronaut Don Pettit, who is aboard the International Space Station right now, puts charged water droplets into wild orbits around a knitting needle in the microgravity environment of the ISS. A video he made of the droplets is the first in a series of freefall physics experiments that he will be posting in coming months."

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Depression (4, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38951919)

This is the kind of news that saddens me. The grand endeavor to explore the universe that I knew as a kid has turned into, well, basically nothing at all, and the astronauts that once went where no one had gone before have turned into Mr. Wizards doing Newtonian physics demonstrations for ten-year-olds. I mean, the off-the-cuff demonstrations of floating pencils one saw in the Apollo program videos, in between doing stuff like developing space rendezvous techniques and going to the moon, have turned into the raison d'etre of the space program.

I am depressed.

Re:Depression (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38951995)

Don't worry, it will get better when they post the videos of microgravity sex experiments.

Re:Depression (1)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952031)

I dunno. This is a /. denizen we are talking about. I'd suggest that he try pharmaceuticals instead.

Re:Depression (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952163)

With knitting needles? Pro-lifers will be the ones doing the relative spinning in those experiments!

Re:Depression (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952207)

To boldly scrrew where no one had screwd before?

Re:Depression (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952265)

Sorry, not sure I *want* to see the results of that.

1) Fluids. Say no more.

2) Gravity isn't kind to women's upper chest. Zero gravity is even less kind. God knows what it does to a man.

3) Some camerawork can be dodgy enough as it is, without having to have the cameraman and actors floating freely and having to account for a "Newton's Third Law" of two colliding bodies exerting force on each other isn't going to help any.

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952669)

100% disagree.

That all sounds like tremendous FUN !

Re:Depression (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953887)

Some camerawork can be dodgy enough as it is, without having to have the cameraman and actors floating freely and having to account for a "Newton's Third Law" of two colliding bodies exerting force on each other isn't going to help any.

100% disagree.

That all sounds like tremendous FUN !

As long as the camera operator is not afraid of some really friendly fire...

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953675)

2) Gravity isn't kind to women's upper chest. Zero gravity is even less kind.

Sorry, but considering how awesome buoyancy in water is, I'd have to assume that zero gravity is equally awesome.

Re:Depression (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953899)

That's why, as with dolphins, a third body is required to brace against. "The Three Dolphins Club" is the microgravity equivalent of the Mile High Club.

Re:Depression (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953919)

2) Gravity isn't kind to women's upper chest. Zero gravity is even less kind.

With the proper implants gravity has seemingly little effect on Earth.

God knows what it does to a man.

Hence the need for experimentation.

Re:Depression (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953299)

That would be probably the most effective way to finance the space program nowadays. That combined with the next TV-reallity-soap à la "Americas next hot space chick".

Combining a mission to mars with a two year Big Brother show could improve financing considerably. Just wait until the first "actor" gets kicked out. Oh the drama.

Re:Depression (1)

Petaris (771874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954633)

So we will go from the porn industry furthering the multimedia industry to the the porn industry furthering the space program? :P

Re:Depression (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954931)

The space program is really really great
For porn
I've got fast rockets so I don't have to wait
For porn
There's always some new planet
For porn!
I experiment all day and night
For porn!
It's like I'm flying at the speed of light
For porn!

Re:Depression (5, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952007)

While I agree that there should be a more grand purpose to manned spaceflight, getting grade school children interested in newtonian physics through demonstrating the principles in a compelling way isn't a complete waste.

The next generation needs inspiration too.

Is it really that inspirational, though? (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952203)

Is it really that inspirational, though?

I mean, think of what really inspired generation X. I don't think it was just the prospect of having a chance to sit in a cramped capsule in orbit for two days, and even that chance being lower than being hit by lightning.

I think it was more like the extrapolation of where it's going. SF told us stories of it becoming a mass thing, every other guy being at least a space freighter pilot, and the cool ones like us would be space FIGHTER pilots, exploration, whole colonies on other planet and in orbit, meeting horny green alien babes, and going bald where nobody had gone before. Oh wait, the last one was the porn ;) And not just space travel. It told us tales of robots, lasers, near-infinite sources of energy, etc.

It was an age of very rapid progress in a whole bunch of domains, and a naive linear extrapolation ahead promised to soon take us where we can't even imagine. Now it was the moon, tomorrow it will be colonies on Mars, and the day after tomorrow probably meeting the Vulcans.

It was that imaginary destination, not the current state that got us SF nerds dreaming.

Nowadays, it seems to have pretty much become a horizontal asymptote. Or near enough. Within your lifetime, or even your kids' lifetime, we'll probably still have half a dozen people in orbit. Your grandkids' chances of being an astronaut will still be lower than winning the jackpot and retiring to a tropical resort.

And even if they won that lottery, what will they do in orbit? Where does that extrapolation lead nowadays? They'll maybe levitate droplets of oil instead of water? Study the growth of mold on a petri dish in zero gravity?

Even robots are not what we dreamed they would be. Instead of cool HK-47 style androids at the bank teller, we have the more logical thing of a box with a screen and a keypad. Instead of robotic vendors, we have the more logical vending machines. And instead of having a robot copilot, you just have an autopilot AI, because it would be stupid to build a humanoid frame where just a few chips will do the same job better. And instead of C3PO style protocol droids, we have cell phones with translator apps, or just a browser to point to Google translation. Again, because it makes no frikken sense to actually build a dedicated humanoid frame for just one application, when an app on a general purpose gadget will do the same thing.

And you can forget the whole space fighter thing, since not only it turns out that blowing enough shit up in orbit would nix all our access to space, but pilots are being replaced by remote controlled drones even on Earth. And in space probably even more so, since you can do much tighter turns and accelerations if you don't have to worry about squishing the human inside.

So, you know, inspire kids to aspire to... what?

But even forgetting the extrapolation, the thing about the human brain is that it works with differences more than with absolutes. To be interesting enough, something must be different enough. You wouldn't think for example that a new LCD TV is new and interesting if it just has the buttons in a different position than yours.

At some point there was enough change per time unit to be interesting. Yay, we went to the moon. Yay, we have a space shuttle that promises to make space travel cheap and often (yeah, right.) Yay, we have a space station.

Now it's, what? Yay, we're stuck in the same orbit, but we can do another elementary-school level science experiments in space? :p

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953111)

I think it was more like the extrapolation of where it's going. SF told us stories of it becoming a mass thing, every other guy being at least a space freighter pilot, and the cool ones like us would be space FIGHTER pilots, exploration, whole colonies on other planet and in orbit, meeting horny green alien babes, and going bald where nobody had gone before. Oh wait, the last one was the porn ;) And not just space travel. It told us tales of robots, lasers, near-infinite sources of energy, etc.

It was an age of very rapid progress in a whole bunch of domains, and a naive linear extrapolation ahead promised to soon take us where we can't even imagine.

And that's the basic problem - too many people refuse to grow the hell up and shed that naivete. They insist on blaming reality for not living up to their childish beliefs, and then they use fiction as 'proof' that those beliefs were reasonable.
 
Seriously, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and the juveniles of Robert Heinlein are all creations of imagination. If you're over eighteen and can't tell the difference between them and reality, you're in need of some serious professional help.
 

instead of C3PO style protocol droids, we have cell phones with translator apps, or just a browser to point to Google translation

So the f' what? Are you seriously so immature as to be disappointed that something as amazing as real time machine translation (which was nothing put a pipe dream when I was in high school a mere thirty years ago) is available 24/7 in something you can put in your pocket rather than being a 'kewl' 'droid? Hell, I consider the whole "in your pocket" thing far more impressive than the "being a droid" part. When I was a kid, we expected such things to take a whole room of computers, if it was ever possible at all.

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953301)

It's a matter of perspective. I can say the same thing about anyone being disappointed in anything. I can call you immature for being disappointed that someone else has fantastic beliefs or expectations. If you are as mature as you think you are, you would see the folly in any disappointment... You will never find peace by non-acceptance.

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953835)

Are you seriously so immature as to be disappointed that something as amazing as real time machine translation

What good is real time machine translation when it can only be used to talk to other humans? It is rightly disappointing.

It's not like there is some critical shortage of conversation partners or something.

LOLWUT? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954185)

And that's the basic problem - too many people refuse to grow the hell up and shed that naivete. They insist on blaming reality for not living up to their childish beliefs, and then they use fiction as 'proof' that those beliefs were reasonable.

Seriously, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and the juveniles of Robert Heinlein are all creations of imagination. If you're over eighteen and can't tell the difference between them and reality, you're in need of some serious professional help.

LOLWUT?

Exactly where did you see anything about refusing to grow up, or using fiction as proof, or not being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, in the actual message you answer to? Please do address what was actually said, not what imaginary faults of other people you need to postulate to feel good about yourself.

First of all, the whole point there was about inspiring future generations of very young schoolboys. That was the gist of the message exchange you butted into. Which of course didn't grow up yet. Yes, I realize that a certain kind of loser needs to hear himself say "grow up", and thinks it makes hims sound so superior, but it's a pretty stupid thing to say when the topic is actually inspiring elementary school students. Of course those didn't grow up.

And of course a certain amount of unrealism will be involved. You don't actually think that little girls dreaming of being princesses and having a pony actually thought through such aspects as "and be some piece of property to pawn off or give as a reward" like real princesses were, or about having to shovel the crap a pony produces, do you?

Second, I dare say that being able to distinguish between reality and those future scenario is kinda a pre-requisite for their being something to dream about in the first place. Nobody grows up dreaming to be a garbage truck driver. Dreaming of growing up to be a cool spaceship pilot was only cool and inspirational because we knew it's not something from the reality of here and now. If anyone actually thought that space cities and space freighters are real in the here and now, they'd have been mundane things for them.

Using fiction as proof? Where the fuck did you actually see me say or do that? Again, kindly address what's actually written, not what kind of strawmen would let you sound smart.

So the f' what? Are you seriously so immature as to be disappointed that something as amazing as real time machine translation (which was nothing put a pipe dream when I was in high school a mere thirty years ago) is available 24/7 in something you can put in your pocket rather than being a 'kewl' 'droid? Hell, I consider the whole "in your pocket" thing far more impressive than the "being a droid" part. When I was a kid, we expected such things to take a whole room of computers, if it was ever possible at all.

You'll notice that I hadn't used the word "disappointed" in what you quoted there, or really in the whole message you answer to. So, again, please do address what's actually written, not what strawmen make you feel better.

It has nothing to do with being disappointed that translation apps are small. The point is what looks cool if you want to inspire kids, because that's what we were talking about. Functionalism is certainly good and fine, but you're not going to get a school-kid interested in science so they can design an own logo and catchy name for cell phones designed by Google and manufactured in China.

A talking robot is "cool" enough to be an inspiration. Using a browser to access Google translations is not. You can grow up dreaming to have a cool talking robot like Luke Skywalker. You don't grow up dreaming of having a cell phone with a browser. (Or if anyone does, well, they probably need help.)

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954779)

Bah I need new friends, and until a 'kewl' droid tells me to eff off, I will keep dreaming.

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955009)

Yes, those people are called Space Nutters. Deliriously insane, childish, naive and remarkably unable to process reality.

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954053)

I "blame" Asimov. His premise to justify the android archetype was that positronic brains were so expensive and difficult to manufacture that you would want to use it for multiple purposes. Since most purposes already expected a humanoid formfactor, the humanoid android was an obvious choice.

However, processing power is actually fairly inexpensive. So it makes more sense to have a bunch of highly specialized "brains" carefully and specifically tailored to the application than have one expensive generalized machine. Nevermind how sentience is neither required or even desired for most of these applications.

Re:Is it really that inspirational, though? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955515)

I mean, think of what really inspired generation X. I don't think it was just the prospect of having a chance to sit in a cramped capsule in orbit for two days, and even that chance being lower than being hit by lightning.

GenXers were very small children when we reached the moon. Armstrong is of my dad's generation, Korea War vets. Boomers flew the shuttles.

Star Wars and its sequels are what excited GenX.

Even robots are not what we dreamed they would be. Instead of cool HK-47 style androids at the bank teller, we have the more logical thing of a box with a screen and a keypad. Instead of robotic vendors, we have the more logical vending machines. And instead of having a robot copilot, you just have an autopilot AI, because it would be stupid to build a humanoid frame where just a few chips will do the same job better. And instead of C3PO style protocol droids, we have cell phones with translator apps, or just a browser to point to Google translation.

And instead of "Logics" [baen.com] we have PCs and the internet... and phones and the internet.

And if you think for two seconds, you're not going to meet any hot green babes, Romulans, Vulcans, or anybody else that even remotely resembles Homo Sapiens. I've written a little SF [slashdot.org] on that subject myself.

Nobody gets the future right. Nobody!

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952279)

I thought that the next generation wouldn't be able to afford housing... let along lunar housing :/

Re:Depression (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952447)

The furthest man has ever been from the Earth is into orbit around the moon ... and we last did that 40 years ago ...

24 people have been out of near earth orbit ... and none of these were in the last 40 years ...

Moon rocket : Retired
Supersonic Passenger Jet : Retired
Fastest Production Aircraft : Retired

Re:Depression (0)

SgtDink (1930798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952657)

microinteresting

Re:Depression (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953619)

If you really want to demonstrate Newtonian physics, just show the schoolkids NASA's falling budget after 1968.

All about energy (1, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952013)

Unfortunately, the almost free source of energy that did not damage the environment that we needed to make spaceflight practical - turned out not to exist. The Earth's gravity well remains the obstacle to going anywhere in large numbers with large masses. Meanwhile easily obtainable energy sources that are highly concentrated with good specific impulse get more and more expensive.

It's worth remembering that the V2 effort helped Germany lose WW2 - the energy needed to produce the fuel meant shortages of fuel for aviation and transport. The private space initiatives are relying on the custom of a few billionaires - and once they start getting sued for environmental damage, and the price of their fuel is driven up by the inexorable laws of supply and demand, I doubt they will have a future.

The sources of energy that are rapidly declining in price - solar and wind - or are already economic - nuclear and gas - are not suitable for space vehicles. On the other hand, the attempt to produce low cost, low power universal communication tools has been successful beyond the imaginations of people even thirty years ago, and fundamental physics research would simply awe the likes of Feynman and Dirac if they were around to see it. There has been great endeavour in science and engineering, it just turned out that space exploration wasn't it.

Re:All about energy (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952109)

It's worth remembering that the V2 effort helped Germany lose WW2 - the energy needed to produce the fuel meant shortages of fuel for aviation and transport.

That is a LOL moment. If you're going to rewrite engineering history as part of tiresome environmental guilt trip prattle, don't do it on a website populated with engineers. Wrong both at the microscale in that A4/V2 didn't burn avgas or diesel or petrochemicals at all, wrong at the macroscale that every A4/V2 ever launched added together adds up to frankly not very much fuel. Those were relatively tiny SRBMs roughly similar performance to a modern MLRS not a thundering herd of saturn-5s.

fundamental physics research would simply awe the likes of Feynman ... if they were around to see it.

He didn't die that long ago, you know. Yes he chilled out with the manhatten project dudes as an extremely young man hanging with middle aged and old men. You may have missed he was on the Challenger loss commission in the 80s, etc. Even Dirac didn't die until the early 80s. If you want to surprise a physicist, find someone who croaked before WWII not a recently deceased.

Re:All about energy (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952159)

and fundamental physics research would simply awe the likes of Feynman and Dirac if they were around to see it

Don't be too sure. Feynman and Dirac are still aweing today's physicists.

Re:All about energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952311)

So I am not a physicist. How many gallons of gas (in terms of energy content) would it take to get me to the moon? Or even just into earth orbit? I'm just curious, I always hear how expensive it is. Well outside of the research, development, spaceship building, etc... How much in terms of gas would it cost me?

Re:All about energy (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952555)

Earth's scape velocity is 10.735 km/s at the Equator. A 100kg men (an obese one) would need 5,8e9 J for reaching that speed, or a bit less than 171 liters of gasoline. (Isn't Wikipedia great? There is a XKCD about that.)

Of course, if you ever intent to get there by a rocket, that need will increase a lot (except if it is nuclear). Also, if you intent to actualy use gasoline on your rocket, you can already forget it.

Re:All about energy (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952805)

Earth's scape velocity is 10.735 km/s at the Equator.

Earths escape velocity is irrelevant in the case of non-ballistic flight. Rockets when burning their fuel are distinctly non-ballistic.

Re:All about energy (2)

drerwk (695572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953615)

You answered the parents question correctly, but if you have not seen it you should have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation [wikipedia.org] .

For a rocket to get into orbit, most common propellents end up requiring 80% or more of the mass of the rocket be propellent. Now, if we had a big cannon we could do it with the energy you are mentioning.

Re:All about energy (2)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952415)

Nuclear energy isn't suitable for space vehicles? I'm sure the voyager program would beg to differ.

Re:All about energy (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953007)

It isn't suitable for ground to orbit vehicles, mostly because of environmental concerns.

Re:All about energy (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953655)

The Atomic Airplane project, besides being one of the worst managed, most snake-bit projects, did have one reasonable success - the GE direct-heat engines worked pretty well on the test stands. Those were only driving turbines so it's not directly comparable. But (not having seen any serious analysis of this application) I speculate that a Thorium-fueled (LTFR) atomic engine might well work. If so, then the risk of serious radioactive contamination in the event of rocket failure might well not be very serious, as Thorium is relatively benign as a raw material. There are beaches in India rich enough in Thorium to be a mining target if we ever get LTFReactors in operation, and people play on those beaches. IIRC Thorium emits quite small quantities of alpha particles, which can be shielded with aluminum foil (or so they say). There might be a risk of small amounts of more serious contamination from materials in the midst of the critical reaction, but that's all.

Of course one of the advantages of an atomic engine is that since the energy for the process does not take up a lot of mass and space, that leaves a lot more capacity for passive propellant, which means that it is not as necessary to achieve huge amounts of thrust at takeoff, which means the whole thing can be smaller as a steady lift over a longer period of time can get you there. Perhaps water would be a good propellant - I have no idea.

The big question would be whether an LFTR power plant could generate sufficient heat to propel the propellant fast enough to be useful, while not destroying itself in the process. Perhaps the last stage of a linear power chain would be a form of ion drive, turning the reaction mass into a plasma. I'm making this up as I go along, so hey.

Re:All about energy (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955371)

nonsense, a reactor could heat a fuel that doesn't become activated (as rad safety officers at nuke plant use the word) and everything would be no more dangerous than a normal launch.

Re:All about energy (1)

Iron Sun (227218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953077)

and the price of their fuel is driven up by the inexorable laws of supply and demand

Lolwhut? Fuel costs are an utterly insignificant fraction of the cost of a launch.

Re:All about energy (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953281)

On the other hand, the attempt to produce low cost, low power universal communication tools has been successful beyond the imaginations of people even thirty years ago, and fundamental physics research would simply awe the likes of Feynman and Dirac if they were around to see it.

You are kidding, right?

Feynman and Dirac are responsible for the most successful scientific theory in all of the history of mankind thus far.

Its Quantum Electrodynamics and the theory fits experiment to such a great degree that they were able to predict the value of a fundamental constant verified in their lifetimes to billionths of a percentage point. You talk of modern communication tools but you dont seem to realize that they all owe their existence to the very men you wish to brush off.

Richard Feynman was hands down the greatest scientist the world has ever known, as it was not just QED that he was essentially involved with pioneering. He was essential in developing the mathematics of quantum mechanics, essential in superfluidity, and pioneered the quark model of particle physics. He even invented quantum computing and was first to suggest nano-technology for christ sakes!

Re:All about energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953335)

The sources of energy that are rapidly declining in price - solar and wind - or are already economic - nuclear and gas - are not suitable for space vehicles.

How about laser ablation [wikipedia.org] ?
A railgun could be used for the initial catapult launch, so the entire system would use electricity for launch.

Added bonus - Isp (specific impulse) can be over 5000 seconds.
At best, the shuttle's main engine gets 453 seconds, making this 10x more energy efficient.

Re:All about energy (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953429)

and fundamental physics research would simply awe the likes of Feynman and Dirac if they were around to see it.

If Feynman were around he would be doing fundamental physics. He was actively doing research and teaching 'till the week he died. Look up "Plenty of room at the bottom", or some of his last published papers to see if he would be in awe, or leading the field.
I do agree that there will not likely be enough energy to move a large fraction of people off the planet any millenia soon; but look up the population estimates of humans as they left Africa, we only need to send tens to hundreds to start an off planet sustainable population. And that could certainly be done.

Re:All about energy (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955547)

a properly engineered modern nuclear reactor can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and can burn all of its uranium into short lived isotopes. we have centuries of thorium supply. are you saying we have a shortage of water in the ocean?

Re:All about energy (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955965)

the energy needed to produce the fuel meant shortages of fuel for aviation and transport.

Or not.

The shortage of fuel the Germans suffered in WW2 was far more about bombing the crap out of refineries, railyards, and suchlike than about V2 fuel.

Which V2 fuel was ethanol. Made from potatoes.

Re:Depression (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952041)

i.e. you could understand the goal of Apollo, but of present mission you know and understand nothing, and conclude from your own ignorance that they are totally pointless.

Re:Depression (0)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953763)

Okay, let's assume for purposes of exposition that you're right. Educate me: What are the goals of the present mission? If you need help in starting, try the ISS Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] :

According to the original Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and RSA, the International Space Station was intended to be a laboratory, observatory and factory in space. It was also planned to provide transportation, maintenance, and act as a staging base for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. In the 2010 United States National Space Policy, the ISS was given additional roles of serving commercial, diplomatic, and educational purposes.

I posit that anything that has that many diverse purposes actually serves no purpose at all -- and certainly isn't inspirational.

Re:Depression (1)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952139)

This is exactly the news to make my point. Our resources are best spent on sending instruments into places where man can't go, because that's where the science is happening. That is exploration.

Stupid human tricks belong on the David Letterman show. Or the Guinness book of world records.

Thank goodness we could get up there to fix the space telescopes though. You know, that kind of thing is important too.

Re:Depression (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953721)

Perhaps there is one ten-year-old out there who sees this video, and as a result becomes a physical chemist with interests in rocket propulsion, and grows up to invent the critical element to make interplanetary travel possible. Looking at the Space Shuttle astronauts, more than one of them got started in similar ways, so the odds are pretty good that something similar will happen. Then this simple science experiment will have done as much for our growth into space as anything else the space program has done.

Re:Depression (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952143)

This is still better and awe inspiring than anything I've seen on TV this year so far, apart from an Apple Keynote. ;-)

Re:Depression (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952145)

The grand endeavor to explore the universe that I knew as a kid

You mean that you imagined as a kid. Like a lot of things you knew as a kid, it was just the wide-eyed fantasies of youth. The space program has NEVER been about being a grand endeavor to explore the universe. It isn't now, and has never been in the entire global history of space programs. They've been about politics, they've been about national security, they've been about national pride. They've *never* been about exploration. Why do you think every single "pure" research project has such brutal trouble with funding? Why do you think the only substantially successful programs in the last 20 years have been the "cheaper, faster" programs?

It *is* depressing, but I vaguely remember it being depressing when I was five years old and figured out Santa, too.

In fact, for the first time in *history*, there's cause to NOT be depressed about the reality of space travel. We've got Branson getting ready to let anyone with a couple hundred grand be an astronaut. We've got a private company nearly ready to be lauching people into orbit. Those are BIG deals. Those are space exploration, even in its infancy, that *for once* is NOT coupled to national posturing.

Today, in 2012, has the greatest number of reasons to be *excited* about space travel, because for once its being done for real.

Re:Depression (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952529)

We now have private companies nearly able to take people on joyrides into near earth orbit, which 6 or more governments can already do ...

They are simply catching up with where we were in the 50's and 60's ... but (a bit) cheaper

They have no plans to do any more than joyrides, because that is what people are willing and able to pay for ...

Re:Depression (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953389)

We now have private companies nearly able to take people on joyrides into near earth orbit, which 6 or more governments can already do ...

They are simply catching up with where we were in the 50's and 60's ... but (a bit) cheaper

They have no plans to do any more than joyrides, because that is what people are willing and able to pay for ...

The first 10-20 years of aviation were also limited nearly exclusively to joyrides. There's nothing wrong with that. But imagine what the world would look like today if the US government was the only organization that had airplanes.

The people paying for joyrides (at 1% or less of what the government was spending 60 years ago!) are funding the rapid development of technology, driving costs down by making profit actually matter, and that will lead to greater corporate use.

If you're a 2nd-tier school today, and you want to do some microgravity research, you're shit out of luck. In a couple years, you'll be able to use a hundred grand in grant money and do that research. Today, its not reasonable for, say, Samsung to ask itself "I wonder if I can improve efficiency on these OLED panels if I manufacture them in microgravity". In ten years (or less!), a few tens of millions (or less) will likely allow them to try that. For sixty years, politics has driven spaceflight. Now, profit, investment and corporations do. Profit, investment and corporations is why today we're all not living in farm houses with candlelight and no education. Its a powerful motivator to progress.

Re:Depression (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955385)

The space program has NEVER been about being a grand endeavor to explore the universe. It isn't now, and has never been in the entire global history of space programs. They've been about politics, they've been about national security, they've been about national pride. They've *never* been about exploration.

Exploration is always about politics, even if the explorers are not, because whatever is discovered will affect the political balance back home. Even the "Age of Exploration" in the 1400s-1600s was fueled largely by governments, government grants, and government charters of independent companies (e.g., Hudson's Bay Company [wikipedia.org] ). The point is, exploration did occur during this time. If you think space exploration is occurring today, we have a different definition of the word, "is."

You depress easily... (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952215)

Space should not be just for the 'elite'! It should be able to pay a few thousand and go spin water droplets for a few hours, we should all be so lucky! I'm sure past elitists such as Christopher Columbus felt the same way hundreds of years ago.... "Damn those bourgeois traders and colonists ruining the New World for the REAL explorers!.... bah!

Re:You depress easily... (1)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955961)

Christopher Columbus' 'real' exploration also consisted of taking slaves back with him when he returned home. I believe his motive was $$$$. And fame.

Re:Depression (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952285)

I think the idea is, that if we can maintain in the youth an interest in science and mathematics beyond that needed to act as passive operators of technological civilization, perhaps their generation will not utterly fail to push space travel forwards, as several recent ones have.

I don't think they'll have a choice, though (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952427)

I don't think they'll have a choice, though. The problems are that:

1. As Douglas Adams put it, "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." So you'll need incredible speeds to get anywhere interesting even within one lifetime.

2. In that domain, Albert Einstein is the biggest mofo. He'll be a bigger pain in your dreams of space domination than Mace Windu.

Everyone has some half-baked solution like "well, just keep accelerating at 1g for a few years, and you'll be at 0.9c". What they don't think about is what kind of energy you need to keep doing that. Even fusion won't cut it.

At 0.9c, every gram of your ship packs enough kinetic energy as a 29 kiloton atom bomb. By comparison, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons. Even at near perfect efficiency, you'd need two of those to accelerate just one gram of matter to 0.9c.

If you want to do a round trip, you have to accelerate then decelerate in one direction, then accelerate and decelerate again in the other direction. So multiply by 4.

And that's with a cannon kind of a setup, so you only accelerate that one gram of matter, not also the rocket and fuel and whatnot. If you carry your own fuel and engines, you'll have to accelerate those too.

Doing it slowly or doing it fast, won't change anything. At the end of the acceleration period, each gram of your ship will still pack that much kinetic energy, so still that much energy will have gone into accelerating it.

Take your choice of realistic engine. Orion? If you took all the atom bombs ever made, they still wouldn't be enough to push even a modest capsule for a one way trip to a good habitable planet. Engine with uranium salts in water? Ditto, plus you now have to accelerate the water and the moderator bars too. Ion thrusters? Well, you still need that much energy piped into accelerating the ions. You'll still need a reactor that produces that much energy, and there just ain't enough uranium produced in the world for that.

The point is that even the next generation still ain't going anywhere. It doesn't matter if they want to push space travel or not, they're still not going to put a guy farther than maybe Mars. Unless some miraculous new source of energy is found -- note that even Star Trek essentially has infinite energy and stored as densely as antimatter -- the next generation is just tied to this rock as we are.

Solar System (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953409)

What's wrong with the solar system to get ourselves experienced with space? Interstellar travel is out until we solve the issues you mention but the solar system is most definitely within reach - the limitations there are technology not basic physics. I think most people would think that mining Helium-3 on the surface of the moon, watching a sulphur volcano erupt on Io or sailing the methane oceans on Titan would count as exciting.

Isn't that the same thing, though? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955179)

Isn't it the same thing, though? Of course, basic physics doesn't technically get into the way of getting to Alpha Centauri either. It's economics and technology that put the kibosh on it.

Going anywhere in the solar system is, of course, going to be an easier proposition, and you can get some of that energy by slingshot fly-bys of planets. It's still going to involve a lot of time, a lot of shielding, and ultimately a lot of energy. I don't think technology and economics will make that a realistic goal for most people in any foreseeable future.

Helium 3 mining on the moon for example sounds the most feasible, but the economics just aren't there yet. If you need to get a 50 ton truck to moon and back (chosen as close enough to the total weight of the orbiter and lander for Apollo 11), exactly how much Helium 3 can you get back to even pay for the costs?

Or let's think big. Let's say we have a space truck roughly about the size of the late Space Shuttle. Let's also say that technology evolves so, adjusted for inflation, it costs as much to get it to moon and back as it costs currently to get it to LEO. Let's also say that on that cost, it can haul as much payload to moon and back as it currently can haul to LEO.

Not exceedingly SF scenarios, I think you'll agree. I mean, we're not talking warp engines and antimatter there, but the kind of better engines you'd expect to happen somewhere in the near-ish future.

Well, the Space Shuttle cost per mission according to NASA, as of 2011, was about 450 million dollars. So in my scenario, we'll pay that for a trip to the moon and back, so it's not that huge. It can haul 24,400 kg to LEO, let's say our space truck can do 25 tons to the moon and back. (Probably 25 tons of supplies in one direction, and 25 tons of He3 on the return route, not counting the weight of the tanks and such, which would probably be a part of the cosmic tanker truck as the cheapest solution.) It's a fair amount actually, since Helium is lightweight.

Well, now we have 450 million dollars / 25t = 18 million dollars per ton. That's how much you'd have to sell that He3 for, to just break even.

In fact, even if the cost of that round trip dropped by an order of magnitude (hey, technology progresses), it still has to be worth nearly 2 million dollars a ton to be worth just the trip alone, never mind the costs of the moon base.

So I still think that even that won't happen any time soon. Sorry. Adam Smith's invisible hand is flipping us SF nerds the bird :p

Re:I don't think they'll have a choice, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954259)

You obviously forgot the obvious solution. A freaking big solar sail and a bunch of Lasers placed somewhere in our solar system. Then you only need to have fuel for the deceleration. and who cares about deceleration? If we are going to send something to another solar system it will obviously be to spy on and then destroy some aliens. Having a few tons of spy satelite traveling at 0.9c whould obviously do some damage.

Well, that was of course about space TRAVEL (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954795)

You obviously forgot the obvious solution. A freaking big solar sail and a bunch of Lasers placed somewhere in our solar system. Then you only need to have fuel for the deceleration. and who cares about deceleration? If we are going to send something to another solar system it will obviously be to spy on and then destroy some aliens. Having a few tons of spy satelite traveling at 0.9c whould obviously do some damage.

Well, that was of course about space TRAVEL. Which usually is understood as involving at least one human, but basically the problems are the same even for sending a robotic probe to bring back samples.

If what you want to do is just blow the shit out of some alien planet, then, yeah, things are a lot simpler. A ton worth of solid warhead coming at you at 0.9c will pack 29 gigatons of TNT worth of kinetic energy, i.e., will hit like 600 Tsar Bombas.

Though it will still fall short of, say, the Yucatan impact that killed the dinosaurs. That's estimated at 100 million megatons, while we just reached 29,000 megatons here. We'll have to do about 3000 times more energy into ours to do the same kind of destruction.

Hmm... A bit over 220 tons at 0.999c should do the trick :p

And just to add one thing about space travel (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953225)

And just to add one thing about interstellar travel at relativistic speeds: that energy per gram works both ways. If you're going at 0.9c and hit a grain of mater (e.g., ice) just half a gram in weight, that's pretty much stationary compared to your own speed, the energy in that impact is going to be equivalent to having the Hiroshima bomb strapped to your ship and detonated.

When you're moving at relativistic speeds, every single spec of dust or ice is a relativistic weapon, packing energies measured in kilotons.

We're not talking something that will crack your windshield, but something that will vapourize even battleship-class armour and send chunks of it doing a mega shotgun blast through the rest of the ship.

So, you know, even if we figured out the engines, then we'd have to figure out some kind of Star Trek or Star Wars energy shield before we can actually make like an exorcist and get the hell out of here ;)

Re:Depression (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952475)

Let's see, from the linked page a caption "Don Pettit prepares to insert biological samples in the Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI-1) in the Kibo laboratory."

That really sounds like actual research to me. These videos definitely look like off-the-cuff demos too.

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952843)

Yeah, heaven forfend we do science in space. It should all be slow pan camera shots and lens flare.

10 year olds are still important. I know you think they all grew up and are no longer interested in such things but, if you look closely, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free: there are more of the little buggers than ever before!

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953359)

If the fact that we have people continually living in space doesn't inspire you, I just feel sorry for you.

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954679)

Welcome to adulthood. The leisure society, where machines were supposed to change society radically, also never happened. Living on the sea floor, never happened. Supersonic passenger transport, gone. The ISS is a scam, a shame and an embarrassment. It's a floating Tinkertoy tin can for test pilots to measure each other's wang. There is no exploration going on here, no science, nothing worthwhile. You have any idea how many PhDs you could have subsidized for the amount of money we've spent on free-fall ant colonies?

Re:Depression (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954777)

Well, the moon race was purely political. What they're doing now is far more useful and interesting. There's no way to know what kind of technology will come out of their science.

And meanwhile, when I was 20 there were two things I knew would never happen in my life: I'd never be able to see without contacts or glasses, and I'd never go to space. The first I was used to, the second depressing, since I've always been a big SF fan.

But I got an implant in my left eye in 2006 and no longer need corrective lenses, and the way Space-X and other private ventures are going, I may be able to go where no man had gone before I first heard the words "to go where no man has gone before".

You don't think robot Martians are cool? I think they're cool as all getout. I like the way space is going!

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955485)

This is the kind of news that saddens me. The grand endeavor to explore the universe that I knew as a kid has turned into, well, basically nothing at all, and the astronauts that once went where no one had gone before have turned into Mr. Wizards doing Newtonian physics demonstrations for ten-year-olds. I mean, the off-the-cuff demonstrations of floating pencils one saw in the Apollo program videos, in between doing stuff like developing space rendezvous techniques and going to the moon, have turned into the raison d'etre of the space program.

I am depressed.

Don't take life so seriously, you'll never make it out alive.

Re:Depression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38956047)

Don't be too depressed. The whole thing was never anything but a way to funnel your tax dollars into R&D for corporations because they weren't willing to pay for it themselves. Don't be depressed that a massive corporate welfare system, like NASA isn't doing anything constructive.

What could possibly go wrong (4, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38951983)

...into wild orbits around a knitting needle in the microgravity environment of the ISS

Could be worse I guess; ridged potato chips, for instance.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952049)

Watch out! They're ruffled!

Re:What could possibly go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952069)

Yeah, that'd attract giant space ants.

Re:What could possibly go wrong (2)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953395)

They should have used an inanimate carbon rod.

Science FTW (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952081)

I don't care what you say, that is pretty cool, On his free time he is making great videos that, potentially for hundreds of years, will be available for future generations of k-12 science classes.

Re:Science FTW (1)

Lord_Alex (710459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954493)

Nope; somebody will claim copyright, or it'll be DRMed..

Re:Science FTW (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954853)

Since, at the rate we're going, it's going to be that long before we actually venture seriously into space again.

Alternately, there WILL be such videos, but they'll be in Chinese.

Re:Science FTW (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955591)

K-12? These videos will be available for everyone all the way up to physics graduate students and beyond.

You have a cylindrical charged object attracting spheres under a static potential. You can discuss this with first year undergraduates being introduced to circular motion, or final year undergraduates who have learned about cylindrical motion and 3d cylindrical coordinate systems.

You can talk to EM students, and get graduate EM students to consider the conical tapering of the needle and how it affects the fields and motion.

You can talk to experimental physicists at all levels and get them to measure the speed and position of the droplets from the video and verify that the mathematical models are correct.

And yes, you can go all the way back to K-12 students and show them something neat, and talk about static electricity.

This is a top class physics experiment, in almost every possible aspect.

Is this experiment about gravity or electricity? (1)

sllim (95682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952221)

High school was 20 some years ago and I didn't pass physics anyways.

To me it LOOKS like gravity. But I am having a lot of trouble imagining that a knitting needle has enough mass to orbit water droplets. The description talks about another needle off camera which sounds like he is trying to keep a charge on the needle.

So my best guess is that the water droplets are negatively charged, the needles positively charged.
The only thing missing is the orbit. I wasn't aware you could get an orbit out of something like this.

Can someone here expand on this?

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952249)

WTFV. It's electricity, as stated numerous times during the video.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (2)

sllim (95682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952463)

I am deaf. I can't hear the sound in the video.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (0)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952839)

You didn't think to mention that the first time around?

This is the internet. You claimed to have watched a video and not understand something that was patently obvious if you had watched it.

What did you expect people to assume? The internet is filled with morons. Including the ones who don't mention their relevant disabilities when asking for clarification.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38955347)

This is the internet. You claimed to have watched a video and not understand something that was patently obvious if you had watched it.

Obviously that's not true. I can't blame you for your assumptions, since most of us aren't accustomed to dealing with deaf people very often. But even after it's pointed out that it's an incorrect assumption, you still state something based on that incorrect assumption

The internet is filled with morons.

As you've so clearly demonstrated.

And it's not like he said "I'm deaf, you jackass". He simply replied back as a matter of fact "I'm deaf" just to clear up the misunderstanding. He replied back very civilly. Can't say the same for you. So I'd like to ammend your previous statement: The internet is filled with morons and assholes.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952863)

Your best guess was the right one. Also that second needle was of a different material. I think part of his little experiments was using different charged materials. Teflon, nylon, and so on.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (3, Informative)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952437)

Orbit is usually associated with gravity but it can happen with any attractive force.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (1)

sllim (95682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952493)

Like I said, didn't pass High School physics.
Strange how the things that interest me change as I get older.
I mean, this stuff is genuinely interesting to me now. It wasn't then.
I had the time to learn it then, I don't now.

life is funny that way.

Suddenly this disembodied voice says: (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953567)

"Don use the faucet."

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952603)

Of course electricity can make things orbit. Anything that pushes stuff toghether can make things orbit.

Also, if that something pushes with a force that doesn't change with the 1/r^2 that gravity and electricity do, you can create some quite interesting orbits. Try a string sometime.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952743)

Any attractive force can cause orbit. The water droplets were forced out of a syringe and have a velocity pointing away from the syringe .. when the droplets get attracted to the knitting needle they still retain that velocity/momentum .. the attraction of the needle can't erase the droplet's pre-existing velocity .. this causes the droplet to orbit .. it slowly spirals inwards because air resistance that slows down it's velocity.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (1)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953229)

Let me chime in with a zoom-out perspective.

Physics is using math to predict what matter will do in certain circumstances. (I find that pretty mind-blowing - that you can *calculate* what will happen to *stuff* if the system is simple enough. Too bad the calculation approach didn't work out for me so well in the girlfriend department in high school - another story.)

Anyway, the math behind how positive and negative charges attract is the same as the math behind how masses attract: they're both "inverse square laws." Three times the distance, one-ninth the force, since 3 squared is nine.

That means that the motion of a charged water droplet around the needle will be the same type of motion as orbiting, which is why it looks just like gravity. The math is the same, so the motion is the same.

Gravity vs. EM (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954155)

So remind me again why this EM effect is unworkable when scaled to the size of planets, moons, and suns? Simply because these astronomical bodies don't maintain charge?

Re:Gravity vs. EM (2)

j-beda (85386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955205)

So remind me again why this EM effect is unworkable when scaled to the size of planets, moons, and suns? Simply because these astronomical bodies don't maintain charge?

Pretty much. Because each type of charge (positive and negative) repels like types of charges and attracts opposite types of charge, in order to get this type of attraction between two objects you need to cram a bunch of positives onto one object, and negatives onto the other. But those positives do not "want" to stay crammed onto the object - they don't "like" each other. Similarly for the negatives. If you get significant numbers of them together, they have a tendency to fly apart.

In contrast, "gravitational charges" (called "mass") are all the same type, and they all attract each other, so they easily clump together forming planets and suns, and continue to attract each other. Thus even though the electric force is in many ways "stronger" than the gravitational force (by something like 10^20), most of the time we don't even notice the electric force, while we do notice the force of gravity all the time - the earth is so huge.

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (2)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954263)

in fact, electricity and gravity are identical, except that for gravity there is only one kind of "charge", and the force is only attractive. in electricity, there are two kinds of charges, and there is attraction only between opposed charges.
in practice, if the moon was positively charged and the earth negatively charged, and there was no gravity, you could still obtain the same trajectory of the moon around the earth (provided that you have the correct charges).
the force for gravity is (m1*m2)/(r^2), where "r" is the distance between the masses m1 and m2, and the force for electricity is (c1*c2)/(r^2) for the charges c1 and c2 (note that there are some other constant factors there, but they don't matter for the shape of the orbits).

anyway, the second (important) difference between electricity and gravity is the coupling constant. i.e. it turns out that the gravitational force between objects on our scale is negligible. in practice, this means that you could, in theory, see the same video where the gravitational force acts instead of the electric force, but it would take a much longer time to generate the video.
the two forces are identical in the sense that an identical experiment can be made with gravity, but you would have to rescale the time to reproduce the exact video.

in the same way wind tunnels are used to find the drag coefficient for cars: you just have to rescale the force according to the size of the model, and you get it for the real thing.

if you write down the equations for the objects in the video, it doesn't really matter if you say it's electricity or gravity, the result is identical (as long as you ignore the drag --- by the way, you can't really ignore the drag since after a few orbits the droplets "fall" on the needle).

Re:Is this experiment about gravity or electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954485)

Can someone hear expand on this?

FTFY

Zero g education (1, Troll)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38952349)

Zero g as in dropping the 'g' off 'knitting' . It was interesting that he kept the g for orbiting, always dropped it for knittin, but there was one other word that I heard him say where he dropped the g. Is this an indication of when and where he first learnt these words? Or is it just lazy pronunciation, and he can get away with saying knittin, but not orbitin?

Re:Zero g education (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953083)

There is a wealth of scientific research about G dropping. For example:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000878.html [upenn.edu]

Unfortunately there is very little research into how zero gravity affects phonology. Time to lobby Congress for more funding,

Re:Zero g education (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953661)

There is a wealth of scientific research about G dropping.

The more you know! That was a fascinating read. Thanks for my new word of the day: Phonology.

Water Droplets In Orbit (on ISS) == leaky toilet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38952591)

"Water Droplets In Orbit On the International Space Station" is a misleading headline. It made me think of a space station plumbing failure.

electricity = gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954167)

ok, im on board

Fascinating. (1)

StoneCrusher (717949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38955239)

Does anyone have any insight into these electro-static orbits.

I'm curious if the orbit would decay naturally if this was done in a vacuum. Is the air friction the only thing stealing the droplets velocity or is there a change in the droplet (and needle) charge, resulting in a electromagnetic force against the droplet?
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