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A Wet Towel In Space Is Not Like A Wet Towel On Earth

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
April 21, 2013

You just don’t know (because who’s going to tell you?) that when you leave Earth, travel outside its gravitational reach, hundreds and hundreds of everyday things — stuff you’ve never had to think about — will change. Like … oh, how about a wet wash cloth?

Two high school students in Nova Scotia, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, asked Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (who is orbiting the planet right now) what would it be like to dip a wash cloth in water, (they suggested he clump it into a bottle, then pull it out) and squeeze it.

On Earth, a really wet wash cloth, squeezed tight, will drip, right?

Up on the International Space Station, wet wash cloths don’t drip. What they do is like nothing I’d imagined.

(As a radio guy, I was SO aware of Chris’s floating mic … all these years, if I put a mike on my desk, it stays there. As much as I’d like to put a mic on nothing, I hadn’t considered what a headache that would be. His mic won’t stay put. Plus, Chris won’t stay put. Who knew that the pull of the Earth is so radio-friendly?)

Thanks to Jason Kottke and his blog for noticing this. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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