Astronaut Mixes Fluids in Microgravity On Board Space Station

June 7, 2005

Astronaut John Phillips recently conducted an experiment on board the International Space Station to study how mixable fluids interact without the interference of gravity.

Expedition 11 NASA Space Station Science Officer John Phillips conducted the Miscible Fluids in Microgravity, or MFMG experiment this week. This experiment studies how miscible, or mixable fluids interact without the interference of gravity. Studying the interactions between molecules that make up liquids is important for improving numerous processes ranging from making plastics to manufacturing medicines.

For the first part of the experiment, Phillips used a syringe to inject dyed water into honey. Investigators want to see if they merge into one stream of honey. Under normal gravity, the stream would sink. In weightlessness, the stream can be formed but it is not known if the stream will break up like a stream of oil in water.

For the second part, Phillips injected an aspherical drop of water into the honey. The process was videotaped for 30 to 40 minutes and digital images were taken for two hours. Investigators on the ground were able to watch video of the experiments as they were conducted in space. The results will be compared to computer simulations performed by the payload developers.

Focused human physiological and biological Space Station research on astronaut health and the development of countermeasures to protect crews from the space environment will allow for long duration missions to explore beyond low Earth orbit.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Martian valleys could have been carved by surprisingly little water

Related Stories

The modern, molecular hunt for the world's biodiversity

October 27, 2015

The news is full of announcements about newly discovered forms of life. This fall, we learned of a 30,000-year-old giant virus found in frozen Siberia. Until now, known viruses have contained so little genetic information ...

Saturn's moon Titan

October 5, 2015

In ancient Greek lore, the Titans were giant deities of incredible strength who ruled during the legendary Golden Age and gave birth to the Olympian gods we all know and love. Saturn's largest moon, known as Titan, is therefore ...

Explainer: What is a neutron star?

September 1, 2015

Neutron stars are arguably the most exotic objects in the universe. Like one of those annoying friends who seemingly must overachieve in every aspect of life, neutron stars exceed in almost every category: surface gravity; ...

Recommended for you

NASA's space-station resupply missions to relaunch

November 29, 2015

NASA's commercial space program returns to flight this week as one of its private cargo haulers, Orbital ATK, is to launch its first supply shipment to the International Space Station in more than 13 months.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.