Carbonation in Space

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Astronauts don’t typically drink soda or other carbonated beverages while in space. The reason is probably apparent if you watch this new video of an effervescent tablet in water on the space station (or, you could watch the older classic one from Don Pettit). Unlike on Earth, where the carbon dioxide bubbles are buoyant and rise to the surface, the bubbles in a fluid in microgravity are randomly distributed. Those few bubbles that happen to be located along the edge of the water sphere will sometimes burst, creating the halo of tiny droplets you see in the video. In the case of sodas, though, the bubbles’ behavior creates a foamy mess, and, after ingestion, the bubbles are stuck travelling through the astronaut’s digestive system instead of getting burped out. Sounds rather unpleasant to me. (Video credit: NASA; submitted by entropy-perturbation and buckitdrop)


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