Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

What happens if you wash your hands in outer space? April 20, 2013

This is just majorly cool: how water acts in outer space, without gravity to dance with.

Imagine you’re an astronaut. You’re orbiting the earth in a space station for weeks on end. At some point, you’re gonna want to wash yourself.  Or your fellow astronauts are really gonna want you to wash yourself. How to pull this off?

Obviously, a shower would create a potentially tremendous mess. Plus water is very heavy and therefore fuel-expensive to carry, so you wouldn’t want to waste your limited supply on anything besides precious life support.

Enter the special astronaut washcloth. It looks like a little condensed hockey puck. So you shake the thing out until it looks like a small towel, then get it wet to give yourself what my mother used to call a “spit-bath.”

What happens when you wring the washcloth out in this gravityless environment?

Watch and be amazed.



One more thing that adds to the overall fabulousness of this: the experiment was originally proposed by high school students! Go Canada, supporting the curiosity of your young people.

From the YouTube video site:

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a simple science experiment designed by grade 10 Lockview High School students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth. Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA

CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield has made a number of interesting videos showing aspects of everyday life in space. Do check them out, and let yourself fill with wonder – plus perhaps a new appreciation of how gravity makes life so much easier down here.


4 Responses to “What happens if you wash your hands in outer space?”

  1. Diana Tracy (facebook link) Says:

    Yeah, understanding it and seeing it are two different things!

  2. Robert Weeks (facebook link) Says:

    Amazing! Thanks Tina

  3. RedChef Says:

    Too cool! Thanks for posting!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s