Phenomena

Get Your Own Space Coffee Cup

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A few weeks ago, we reported on the espresso machine NASA and the ESA sent to astronauts aboard ISS. The Capillary Beverage Experiment, known colloquially as the “Space Coffee Cup”, is an accompanying project that aims to use our understanding of fluid behavior in microgravity to design an open cup that simulates earthbound drinking experiences. As you can see above, astronauts are already enjoying drinks with it. The cup’s special shape is optimized so that surface tension can replace the role gravity plays in drinking on Earth. Where we pour drinks on Earth, the cup wicks liquid to the spout using surface-tension-driven capillary action. Right now there are only a handful of 3D printed cups on-orbit and here on Earth, but the company that designed them wants to manufacture glass versions for use here on the ground. So if you’d like your own space coffee cup, be sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign! (Video credit: IRPI LLC; image credit: NASA/IRPI LLC; Kickstarter project link)

ETA: To those who have been asking, that’s European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who is (clearly) a Star Trek fan. I believe she’s doing a tribute to Captain Janeway’s coffee. (Black.)

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