Microgravity complicates everything. Much of our sense of “how things work” is influenced by gravity. Don Pettit uses a soldering iron to boil water, and we see how it both is and isn’t different from a pot and stove on Earth.
A bright street lamp can ruin a night of stargazing, saturating your retinas with light and washing out the comparatively faint glow of constellations and meteors. Here's a handy hack you can use the next time you need to put one temporarily (and reversibly) out of business, courtesy of NASA astronaut Don Pettit.
Stop what you're doing, set aside three minutes of your time and watch this. This newly released compilation of footage captured by astronauts aboard ISS missions 29, 30 and 31 is simply outstanding.
Astronaut Don Pettit personifies one of the zucchini plants aboard the International Space Station in his series "Diary of a Space Zucchini." Now New Hampshire Public Radio has given that zucchini and its existential reflections a voice.
In his down time, NASA astronaut Don Pettit likes to practice his yo-yo skills. In space. Commencing child-like wonderment in 3... 2... 1...
There are some moments when you think that Don Pettit has lost his damn mind, in the coolest way possible. One of those moments is in this video, in which he turns himself into a floating disembodied head. And he does it, using just some water and the International Space Station.
With extremely controlled and strict diets, it's not like astronauts have to worry about gaining too much weight on the space station. But have you ever stopped and wondered how you would actually measure mass in a weightless environment? After all, the entire concept of weight and scales is entirely dependent on…
I love this image of a Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft just one second from landing on the very hard soil of the tundra near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. A perfect peaceful still moment—the calm before the rocking rumpus.
Like any other person, Don Pettit tweets, uploads YouTube videos, and maintains a blog. But unlike the rest of us, Don is doing it from the International Space Station. Blogging for Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine, Pettit tells us how to host dinner guests in Space.
See Don Pettit play with LEGOs! See him make sparks! See him make a block of styrofoam orbit a Van de Graaff generator like a little square planet! See it — and remember for the billionth time why nerds in space are awesome.
See those explosions of light against the backdrop of our ever-spinning Earth? They are meteors burning through our planet's mesosphere, captured from the International Space Station in a time lapse made of 316 still frames by astronaut Don Pettit.
Every day we get more evidence that astronauts are giant nerds. Today you can listen to them ooh and ahh over a basic cornstarch and water experiment, and discuss how it might lead to their destruction at the hands of robot overlords.
This image made at the International Space Station is not your usual ISS image. No firing auroras. No gleaming cities. No fuming catastrophes or crispy deserts or psychedelic rivers or turquoise seas. It looks as if the ISS were about to jump into hyperspace.
Our planet looks very different, when viewed in infrared light from space. Astronaut Don Pettit shoots footage of huge swathes of our planet from the International Space Station — first using a regular camera, and then using a camera that films in infrared. Take a look at glowing red forests and strangely blue lakes.
Astronaut Don Pettit (previously: 1, 2, 3) loves performing intriguing experiments using the microgravity of the International Space Station. For his most recent video, Pettit visualized the sound waves of ZZ Top's "TV Dinners" using several blobs of water and a speaker. Now I sort of want a television series in…
Take a look at the International Space Station, where Don Pettit constructs what can only be called Russian Nesting Bubbles - a series of thick-rimmed bubbles inside other bubbles, all of which center themselves.
How can astronauts drink in space? If your answer is, 'through a straw so drops don't fly off and damage the instruments around them,' then Don Pettit has proven that you're a fool. Check out how astronauts can enjoy drinks from an open container like civilized ground-people.
Ever wonder what planets would look like orbiting a cylindrical sun? Now, thanks to the magic of electric charge, microgravity, and awesome astronaut Don Pettit, you can see for yourself. Watch tiny liquid planets 'orbit' a knitting needle, and find out why they do.