adobe photoshop 6 book Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium software download adobe photoshop lightroom crack leagal adobe photoshop software for cheap Adobe InCopy CS5 for Mac software download actualizacion adobe illustrator 10 download adobe acrobat tryout crack Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software download adobe illustrator cs2 12.0.0 crackz serialz adobe acrobat 70 professional free download Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 software download adobe photoshop elements 5.0 scrapbook download adobe acrobat standard Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium software download adobe illustrator demos 5.0 acrobat adobe download free reader Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended software download adobe illustrator parallogram total training for adobe photoshop cs Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection software download adobe creative suite academic adobe photoshop cs3 mac keygen Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended software download scrolling in adobe illustrator downloading software acrobat adobe form client Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 software download adobe photoshop cs2 filters serial number adobe acrobat 6.0 Adobe Illustrator CS5 software download adobe photoshop killer tips

Liquids in Space

August 11, 2008 on 12:36 pm | In Physics, Q & A |

My biggest fan in the world, Zrinka from Croatia, wants to know how liquids work in space. After all, most of us are used to water (and other liquids) on Earth, where we know they do two major things:

  1. They take the shape of whatever container they’re put in.
  2. They flow downwards, towards lower elevations and fall towards the center of the Earth.

So they wind up doing very familiar things, like filling up glasses:

But something as simple as a liquid is completely different in space! First off, once you stop accelerating, there’s no external gravity! This causes water, or any liquid, to become a sphere:

There are certainly some neat things you can do to it, but I’d like to tell you how liquids become spheres first. Unlike a gas, the molecular bonds between a material in a liquid state are very strong. The more polar a molecule is (negatively charged on one side and positively charged on the other), the stronger the bonds between the molecules are. Water is an example of a very polar molecule, and that helps explains why it so easily becomes a liquid:

And that also explains the presence of surface tension, or the force that forms an outer surface on the liquid. The same phenomenon that forms a surface to water on Earth causes random water in space to form into spheres. We see this even on Earth, kind of. Take a look at this hi-resolution photo of water emerging from a faucet:

It’s starting to break up into spheres, but they’re deformed on Earth, whereas they aren’t in space. Why? Because there’s gravity and air on Earth. The gravity accelerates the sphere in one direction, and the air provides an uneven drag force on the sphere, causing it to flatten and deform. Here’s an actual photograph of a falling raindrop:

But what if we did this experiment someplace where there was no atmosphere, like on Mercury or the Moon? Would the sphere just fall, perfectly, without deforming? The answer is yes, but there’s one caveat. Because there’s no atmosphere, that means there’s no pressure on the surface of the liquid. There’s still surface tension, sure, but those of you who remember your chemistry will remember that if there’s no pressure on a liquid, it becomes a gas! So any liquid in the vacuum of space will form a sphere, will fall towards whatever gravitational body pulls on it while remaining perfectly spherical, and perfectly undeformed, but the outer layers of it will either freeze (if the temperature is cold enough) or boil (if the pressure is low enough) or both.

Check out the phase diagram if you don’t believe me — you get the pressure low enough, and everything becomes a gas:

Of course, some people have done far more advanced things with water, bubbles, etc. in space than I have the resources to do. But I do have the resources to show you their wonderful video; check it out!


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Ethan, thanks for posting my question and for your great answer!I hope you had fun writing it as much as i had fun reading it and learning new things..

    Comment by Zrinka — August 12, 2008 #

  2. […] Liquids in Space | Starts With A Bang! […]

    Pingback by The Daily Links - August 12th « The Four Part Land — August 12, 2008 #

  3. cool and fascinating our precious water.

    Comment by jomark osabel — October 13, 2008 #

  4. What about blood?…Is this why astronauts get space sick?

    Comment by George — October 13, 2008 #

  5. […] Inside Dubai’s Labor Camps - [thought-provoking] Seven days that shook the world - [an overview] Liquids in Space (with video) - [science] Kinetic Sculptures of Theo Jansen - [cool art] Emails you get when your company about […]

    Pingback by Sammie's Condensed links for the week - Fearless women, freaky fun - its Hippymom! — October 13, 2008 #

  6. George,

    Fortunately, blood remains inside of our bodies, which give it a definite shape. But lots of funny things happen to you in zero gravity — your internal organs rise inside your stomach, your bone density drops tremendously, and the average human grows two inches. The zero gravity is also why you get space sick; can’t blame water for that one!

    Comment by ethan — October 13, 2008 #

  7. What happens if you have a coca-cola sphere and you drop a mentos into it at zero-G?

    Comment by Nathanael — October 15, 2008 #

  8. […] ¿Cómo se comportan los líquidos en el espacio? […]

    Pingback by Enlaces entre horas » Post Topic » Algo de “ciencia” — November 6, 2008 #

  9. Hi,

    I loved the video about water in space. I teach soldering classes and would like to use it. Can you email me a copy for this purpose? Credits will be given, of course.

    The difference between plagiarism and scholarship is footnotes.

    email to:

    Thanks, Ron

    Comment by Ronald Currell — December 16, 2008 #

  10. Ronald,

    I believe you can just download it from youtube. You can use it, just give the credit to Don Pettit of NASA, whose video this is!


    Comment by ethan — December 16, 2008 #

  11. this is sweet

    Comment by dkslfjs;dlkf — December 31, 2008 #

  12. Thanks, thanks, thank… greetings from istanbul…

    and I think about this; if we made a stabil laboratuary room in space… and we doing fall (spilth) some water to a hall like wash-hand basin (lavabo)… water… which side turn? or is it turn?
    (sorry for my english)

    Comment by ONALTIKIRKALTI — July 10, 2009 #

  13. Прикольный блог, по сравнению с моим на уровне. Умеют делать если захотят.

    Comment by AlkogoliK — September 4, 2009 #

  14. Мне кто нибудь подскажет хороший сайтик по корейским машинкам в Москве? Или что нибудь в этом плане. спс

    Comment by AvtoSeo — September 22, 2009 #

  15. Поддерживаю положительные отзывы о блоги, реально все качественно сделано.

    Comment by Kranovchik — September 30, 2009 #

  16. bla bla bla

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 8, 2010 #

  17. f u

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 8, 2010 #

  18. kathy nd edward

    Comment by pisana — March 8, 2010 #

  19. jordan nd ashley

    Comment by pisana — March 8, 2010 #

  20. naty nd sebby

    Comment by pisana — March 8, 2010 #

  21. naty nd sebby sittin in a tree k i s as y nd z

    Comment by pisana — March 8, 2010 #

  22. jocey and jordan lol your stupid pisana pluse tamales con pisa lol

    Comment by Sebastian cuence — March 9, 2010 #

  23. hey i didnt mean to say jocey lol your names bee bee pisana

    Comment by Sebastian cuence — March 9, 2010 #

  24. im bord

    Comment by Sebastian cuence — March 9, 2010 #

  25. dude wat did u say about the tree thing pisana wat does i i s as y nd z mean wat dude explain me no comprende retardation eso no te cita

    Comment by Sebastian cuence — March 9, 2010 #

  26. oh and how is naty and sebby gonna get in da tree pisana dude ashley and jordan make a goog couple

    Comment by Sebastian cuence — March 9, 2010 #

  27. nat nd sebby in LOVE FOREVER!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by pisana — March 9, 2010 #

  28. so naty wens da wedding???????

    Comment by pisana — March 9, 2010 #

  29. Naty nd jordan kissing in a tree

    Comment by pisana — March 9, 2010 #

  30. tamales tacos sevichie gordas= pisa

    Comment by pisana — March 9, 2010 #

  31. there is no wedding

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 10, 2010 #

  32. so naty cheats on sebby wow pisana u suck

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 10, 2010 #

  33. i dont think she would and pluse every body knows u like jordan so stop hiding lol pisana

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 10, 2010 #

  34. sebby born in rome lol tamales

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 10, 2010 #

  35. by the way i think sevichie is nasty booo

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 10, 2010 #

  36. Naty stop hiding yur love for sebby

    Comment by pisana — March 10, 2010 #


    Comment by pisana — March 10, 2010 #

  38. PISA!!!!

    Comment by pisana — March 10, 2010 #

  39. THE WEDDING IS IN THREE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD LUCK NATY!!!

    Comment by pisana — March 10, 2010 #

  40. im dating kathy

    Comment by edward — March 19, 2010 #

  41. i love her

    Comment by edward — March 19, 2010 #

  42. there gonna be a wedding every bodys invited even pisana and sebastian

    Comment by edward — March 19, 2010 #

  43. joe blows

    Comment by edward — March 19, 2010 #

  44. joe an leonard and jordan and david and shawn we all know u like natalie so just tell her already

    Comment by edward — March 19, 2010 #

  45. WOW OMG EDWARD U PROPOSED TO KATHY DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by pisana — March 19, 2010 #

  46. HOW MANY BABIES??????

    Comment by pisana — March 19, 2010 #

  47. zero

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 22, 2010 #

  48. pisana and jordan lol get married

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 22, 2010 #

  49. tacos tamales con pisa

    Comment by sebastian cuence — March 22, 2010 #


    Comment by pisana — March 22, 2010 #


    Comment by pisana — March 22, 2010 #

  52. MY BRITHDAY IS SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by pisana — March 22, 2010 #


    Comment by pisana — March 25, 2010 #

  54. wat does he smell like

    Comment by edward — March 25, 2010 #

  55. aysha and joe

    Comment by edward — March 25, 2010 #

  56. hi my name is samantha and just wanted to say water in space is cool.!~!!

    Comment by samantha angel — May 7, 2010 #

  57. i love u samantha xoxoxo

    Comment by tabitha — May 7, 2010 #

  58. omg i love you to!!!!!~~~~~~~~~~:::)))

    Comment by samantha — May 7, 2010 #

  59. I don’t no what i’d do with out u

    Comment by tabitha — May 7, 2010 #

  60. bye got to go!!

    Comment by tabitha — May 7, 2010 #

  61. AWWWW okay talk to you later!!!

    Comment by samantha — May 7, 2010 #

  62. Интересно разобраться в писанине общей.

    Comment by Xados — May 8, 2010 #


    Comment by safire — May 12, 2010 #


    Comment by EMO — May 12, 2010 #


    Comment by SAFIRE — May 12, 2010 #


    Comment by EMO — May 12, 2010 #


    Comment by SAFIRE — May 12, 2010 #

  68. :)

    Comment by SAFIRE — May 12, 2010 #

  69. hi my name is ashley and i just wante to say that i think liquids in space are really really really cool!!!!:)

    Comment by ashley — May 13, 2010 #

  70. me too :)

    Comment by safire — May 13, 2010 #

  71. ;)

    Comment by ashley — May 13, 2010 #

  72. :p

    Comment by ashley — May 13, 2010 #

  73. hey out there amy name is henery duhhhh.
    just wanted to make a big shout out to my bro jhon for entroducing me to liquids in space!!!
    my Bro>>>>

    Comment by heneery — May 14, 2010 #

  74. This website is mine u people get out i started the chat thingy fu all

    Comment by sebastion cuence — June 1, 2010 #

  75. Довольно интересный блог. Буду частенько сюда заглядывать.

    Comment by liktravy — November 26, 2010 #

  76. С каждым днем в интернете появляется все больше и больше порталов с видео роликами, тв программами, фильмами. Это связано с тем, что быстрота интернета в настоящее время позволяет легко просматривать видео ролики и кинофильмы в онлайн режиме, даже не расходуя время на скачивание. Cей фактор способствовал интенсивному увеличению числа сайтов с онлайн фильмами, видео роликами и другим видео контентом.Такие порталы предоставляют онлайн фильмы прямо на сайте без скачивания и регистрации. Теперь всегда можно увидеть любимые фильмы через интернет, а и найти последние новинки кино и видео.

    Comment by trevins — December 11, 2010 #

  77. Please help me find answer to following question:

    If water is retained in liquid form (in a closed botte container with air pressure and in 20-30 degree room temprature) will it remain in liquid form in space? If yes, bouancy force will act in which direction? Does bouancy force exist in space?


    Comment by Deep — March 11, 2011 #

  78. Hi there. Came across your site by chance. I’m a Geog teacher teaching climate and your post on water is JUST what I’m looking for to add some ’spark’ to my lesson. Thank you!

    Comment by Deborah — April 14, 2011 #

  79. The specific illustrations you made, the simple website navigation, the relationships your site make it possible to create - it’s got many fabulous, and it’s aiding our son in addition to our family recognize that that matter is pleasurable, which is highly essential.

    Comment by Haydee Grandbois — September 6, 2011 #

  80. This site is really cool and educational to the young people of america

    Comment by Nachos — February 10, 2012 #

  81. Прочитал недавно статью на сайте, могу сказать весь очень доволен, советую всем читать информацию помощью сайт, все генеально описано.)) Вот доказательство на сам сайт,кому нужно

    Comment by Denikus2015 — April 21, 2015 #

  82. Hi there, every time i used to check blog posts here in thhe early hours in the morning,asi enjoy
    to find out more annd more.

    Comment by wisata murah ke phuket — May 11, 2015 #

  83. This article iis genuinely a nice one it assists new the web viewers, who are
    wishing for blogging.

    Comment by Gidget — June 24, 2015 #

  84. This website certainly has all of the information and facts I needed concerning
    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    Comment by wisata hati 6 desember 2012 — August 20, 2015 #

  85. スーパーコピー 時計 激安 6畳

    Comment by スーパーコピー 時計 激安 6畳 — December 11, 2015 #

  86. Привет! Я пьяная, бля, мне сегодня 15 лет - научите меня жить

    Comment by ElenkaNesTug — December 25, 2015 #

  87. Here’s a tip from my accountant: Frauds are more common that you think in the world of life insurance.

    Some insurance companies will raise your monthly premiums with no good reason or based
    on fake information. Keep track of how much you are paying and switch to another company
    if you do not think the new price is justified.

    My web blog whole life insurance (Ardis)

    Comment by Ardis — January 7, 2016 #

  88. What’s up, after reading this remarkable article i am as well happy to share my
    familiarity here with colleagues.

    Comment by Info Wisata Indonesia — January 9, 2016 #

Leave a comment

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^ Powered by with a personally modified jd-nebula-3c theme design.