You probably take your squeezable condiments for granted here, on the surface of Earth. Point, squeeze, and squirt ’em on your meal like it’s no big d. But aboard the International Space Station (ISS), applying even a dollop of something tasty becomes a bizarre display of what life is like in microgravity. This tubular glob of honey for example, behaves less like something you’d put in your tea and more like something Jake Gyllenhaal would run (space-paddle?) from for his dear LIFE.
This dazzling and mystifying shot of honey squeezing is only one of the brief glimpses into the lives of astronauts stationed aboard the ISS compiled into a video released by NASA dubbed “Life on Station.” It’s technically B-roll, but everything in space, from shampooing hair to eating, takes on unfamiliar forms and physical manifestations.
In another video involving honey that was made aboard the ISS (below), Chris Hadfield, NASA astronaut and real-life “Space Oddity,” says that he “noticed something cool about the honey [aboard the ISS].” He notes that “Instead of the bubbles sitting up at the top, because there’s no gravity to make it float up, the bubble is floating in the middle [of the bottle].”
The weightlessness of everything aboard the ISS, as well as the weird physics of the foods, is, as NASA points out, not due to there actually being especially low gravity aboard the ISS, even though it orbits around Earth 250 miles above its surface. Indeed, there is about 90% Earth’s surface gravity aboard the ISS (somebody weighing 100 pounds on Earth’s surface would weigh 90 aboard the ISS). The reason everybody and everything floats aboard the ISS is due to the fact that everything — the station and everything/everyone in it — are in free fall. In other words, the ISS is constantly falling toward Earth, but because it’s traveling at 17,500 miles per hour, it “matches the way Earth’s surface curves.” Or, to quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. … Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties.” But if you get it right, the food in free fall can be
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