Episode 11: Space Balloonacy

Science off the Sphere

Astronaut and chemist Dr. Don Pettit does physics demos that are out of this world. Currently on board the International Space Station, Dr. Pettit presents fantastic physics that can only be demonstrated in micro-gravity.


Episode 11: Space Balloonacy


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Challenge Question: Why do the water blobs oscillate between "potato" and "pancake" shapes? 

Challenge Answer: When the ballon pops the water is in the shape of a potatoand there is an impulse inward from the ends. Possiblybecause thats where the ballon is thickest. Then the watersquishes down in to a pancake and surface tension keeps itfrom flying apart completely. At this point surface tensionpulls the water on the edges back inward starting the cycle allover. Over time the oscillations would dampen out and thewater would be a sphere.

Challenge Winner: Michael J. Stevens of Effort, PA

A big congratulations to Michael, a two-time SOTS challenge winner!