While microgravity might make some tasks a little more difficult, it makes other tasks a little more interesting.
In order to celebrate his record-breaking 300th day in space, astronaut Scott Kelly decided to share a little bit of the whimsy that happens aboard what’s essentially a scientific laboratory that operates 24/7.
In this case, Kelly is showcasing how you can play ping-pong, but in space. Instead of a plastic ball, he’s using a ball of water. The paddles might look similar to those on Earth, but they actually have hydrophobic surfaces designed to allow them to repel water. They’re polycarbonate laser etched, which creates 300 micrometer posts arranged in arrays. Then the whole paddle was covered in Teflon. The roughness combines with the Teflon to create the hydrophobic property.
In the video below, Kelly has a water drop that is about 4mL to demonstrate. Due to the surface features of the paddle a larger drop will break up, but a smaller one can be hit pretty hard.
Sadly, Kelly is playing ping pong with himself, but it’s still an interesting peek into life on the ISS. (Space physics are awesome!)
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense