Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield conducted a wet washcloth experiment in space after getting the idea from two high school students.
The idea was designed by Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, tenth-graders from Lockview High School in Fall River, Nova Scotia, according to the Canadian Space Agency. Their experiment made it to space last week after they won a national science contest conducted by CSA.
The 3:19-minute YouTube video starts out with Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and current commander of the International Space Station, showing viewers the materials he’s going to use for the experiment.
First the 53-year-old astronaut shows off the “coolest” washcloth that was compacted into a hockey puck size to save space on the aircraft. Once it’s unraveled he explains that even though the students suggested he dip the towel into a bucket to make it wet, he had to fill a bag with water since there’s no gravity to hold liquid in a topless container.
Hadfield slowly dispenses the water into the towel so it will be drenched when he wrings the washcloth.
The “whoa” factor in the video comes at the 2-minute mark when Hadfield begins to twist the cloth. Instead of little water beads drifting into space the water gathers on his hands. He describes it as gel, adding that his hands are well moisturized.
The students’ hypothesis on the “Ring It Out” experiment was proven right, CSA wrote. Since there isn’t any gravity to pull the water down, the water stuck to the cloth until Hadfield began to wring it out.
Since Hadfield has been on the space station he has conducted more than 130 international and Canadian science experiments with his crewmates.
According to CSA, the astronaut was proud to perform the students’ experiment:
"The space station is an orbiting laboratory where we work on unique experiments that may eventually improve life on Earth," the space site quoted Hadfield. "I was about your age when I decided I wanted to become an astronaut. I hope that you remember today and continue to be curious about science and space. You are the space explorers of the future and the sky is no longer the limit."