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When Alka-Seltzer Is Put In Water In Zero Gravity

Alka Seltzer in Water in Zero Gravity GIF Imgur gfycat

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NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pett drops Alka-Seltzer into a sphere of water in zero gravity.Read more at

That link sucks. I will find a better one!

First off, this is not new. Here's the YouTube video from 2006:

Second, he did lots of experiments. Here's the NASA page that explains:


What do you do with a membrane of water? The entertainment value alone is impressive.

Pettit spent some time simply making the wand bigger and smaller. "Oscillating the loop with a period of about 2 seconds distorted the film with remarkable patterns like you might see in a rubber membrane driven by a sound oscillator. The back-and-forth displacement at the center was several centimeters."

Pettit injects a solution containing 0.5-micron diameter mica flakes into the thin watery film [more] :

don pettit NASA inject mica flakes into water zero gravity gif Imgur gfycat

Next, Pettit injected some tiny mica flakes into the film. This allowed him to observe otherwise-hidden flows and swirls. "I blew on the film using my own breath," says Pettit, and fascinating patterns emerged--some that looked like spiral galaxies. "These tracer particle patterns lasted for well over four hours."

Then it was time to paint. On one film, Pettit deposited four drops of food coloring: red, blue, green and yellow. Using a syringe with a thin tip (a canella), he shot a stream of air across the watery canvas, pushing the colors to and fro. One of his paintings looked like an eagle, others like abstract art.

"I wonder what someone like Matisse could do with this ephemeral medium?" wonders Pettit. "Eventually, all the colors blended together yielding a rather dull looking green. I think we've discovered the true color of the Universe!" he joked.

colorful matisse color water zero gravity space Don Pettit NASA

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