Watch Astronaut Don Pettit Conduct Cool Experiments Aboard the International Space Station

Astro­naut Don Pet­tit is a chem­i­cal engi­neer by train­ing, and he is a man who loves his work. The video above, pro­duced as part of a series called “Sci­ence off the Sphere,” shows an exper­i­ment con­duct­ed aboard the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. In it, Pet­tit demon­strates the way a water bub­ble reacts to puffs of air in micro­grav­i­ty. The results are fas­ci­nat­ing to watch, made more so by Pettit’s total absorp­tion in the exper­i­ment.

Dur­ing his first six-month stay on the ISS in 2002–3, Pet­tit also exper­i­ment­ed on how flu­ids react in zero-grav­i­ty. He dubbed these ses­sions “Sat­ur­day Morn­ing Sci­ence.” Pet­tit returned to the ISS in Decem­ber of 2011 and is still there, orbit­ing over 240 miles above the earth, con­duct­ing exper­i­ments in his free time and pro­duc­ing “Sci­ence off the Sphere.” Episode 5 of the series (below) is mes­mer­iz­ing, and again, Pettit’s won­der as he nar­rates the exper­i­ment is pal­pa­ble.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Great Cities at Night: Views from the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion

Drink­ing Cof­fee at Zero Grav­i­ty

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.


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