Astronauts brought a fidget spinner into space
The internet’s scientific prayers have been answered: we now know definitively what happens when you spin a fidget spinner in space. And it is predictably awesome.
On Friday, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik posted a video of himself and some of his astronaut pals taking Newton’s laws of motion for a test ride by messing with a fidget spinner aboard the International Space Station.
To spin the toy in space, an astronaut grips the center just like an earthling would do, and gives the outer ring a swirl. But things get interesting when the astronaut releases the spinner into the low-gravity environment of the space station. The spinner floats around, while continuing to spin, and even spins around itself in some sort of triple spin with no signs of slowing down. Things get taken to a whole other level when the astronauts themselves start spinning around the triple-spinning fidget spinners and ow… our brains hurt.
In the video’s caption, Bresnik explains why the fidget spinner goes so crazy in space:
Allowing the fidget spinner to float reduces the bearing friction by permitting the rate of the central ring and outer spinner to equalize, and the whole thing spins as a unit.
The fidget spinners won’t spin forever, though. In Mashable‘s previous inquiry into how fidget spinners would function in space, Miriam Kramer writes that “even on the Space Station, the (albeit low) friction and air pressure would still slow the spinner down to eventually stop it.”
In June, NASA spokesman Dan Huot told Mashable that the agency was considering taking a fidget spinner into space so they could put that theory into action. And boy are we glad they did.
The next step is obviously taking the spinner out of the space station and out among the stars — to see whether it really would spin forever.