Water Drops Dance in Space (Video)

By seth
May 12, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

In this video, a NASA astronaut makes water shift shapes using the power of sound waves onboard the International Space Station (ISS) about 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth.

Chemical engineer Don Pettit has been creating videos in his spare time to demonstrate interesting phenomena in outer space.

This experiment consisted of placing drops of water on a speaker, where they are subjected to different sounds. The droplets assumed different forms depending on the frequency and amplitude of the tones passing through them.

According to Pettit, water only reacts this way in an environment with very little gravity, like outer space. On Earth, gravity would flatten out the droplets, preventing this from happening.

This video is part of a series called “Science off the Sphere” and is being shared via a partnership between NASA and the American Physics Society (APS) for viewing by students, teachers, and science enthusiasts around the world.

“The physics community is absolutely loving seeing what’s going on, and loving having a different way of looking at concepts that they’ve spent their lives studying,” said Becky Thompson-Flagg, head of public outreach at APS, in a media release.

Pettit is the Expedition 30 Flight Engineer and joined the ISS crew in December last year.

“I use my off-duty time to investigate scientific curiosities of my own design,” said Pettit in the release. “[These are] my own investigations that I do simply because I’m here and I can and these things tickle my imagination and enrich my mind.”

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