Sometimes the most amazing, wondrous and intriguing things are the commonplace materials in uncommon circumstances. Take water in space for instance!

It’s a magical source of wonder in all its forms: from clouds to babbling brooks, snowflakes to glaciers as big as skyscrapers… water is one of those things that is simultaneously a scientific and layperson marvel.

But water in space? Now that’s a whole new genre!

Take a look at what a few astronauts do for fun in the space station with nothing but a blob of water. Check out the NASA’s Marshall Center YouTube channel for more fun content!

So, why does water behave this way in space?

Here’s what Nina Sen of the Live Science website says about it:

austronauts and water

Source: NASA

Why do the water molecules in this floating bubble stick together? It happens because each individual H2O molecule is electrically polarized, meaning the end with the two hydrogen atoms has a small positive electric charge, while the end with the oxygen atom has a small negative charge. Because of this, loose electrical connections called ‘hydrogen bonds’ form between neighboring molecules: The positive end of one molecule hooks up with the negative end of its neighbor, and with enough of these hydrogen bonds in place throughout the bubble, the water clings to itself. On Earth, gravity overrides the effects of hydrogen bonds, making a bubble of water splat on the ground. 2

If you can’t get enough of this, here’s another water in space video from experiments on the space station, brought to us by the always fascinating Physics Central YouTube channel.

Thanks for stopping by Ever Widening Circles for a little fun!

If you are just finding us, welcome! We publish one article every other day – on any subject under the sun – to prove this is still an amazing world!

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This article certainly qualifies. Just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles to put a spring in your step!

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. “Space Station Astronauts Grow a Water Bubble in Space.” YouTube. NASA’s Marshall Center, 3 Nov. 2013. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZEdApyi9Vw>.
  2. Bridgewater, Beau. “Empower Network.” Empower Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <http://beaubridgewater.empowernetwork.com/blog/how-water-behaves-in-space-video>.
  3. “Science off the Sphere: Astro Puffs.” YouTube. Physics Central, 6 July 2012. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTy9NpSLm0I&feature=player_embedded>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.