This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment With Fluids 30 Years Ago

Illustration for article titled This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment With Fluids 30 Years Ago

It might look more like an engine from an aging car than a piece of engineering fit for space, but this machine was a pioneering piece of apparatus that allowed astronauts to experiment with fluids in space.

Advertisement

The Fluid Physics Module was hand-built in Italy, and it flew on the first-ever mission of the European Spacelab in 1983. It allowed astronauts to observe and manipulate up to a liter of liquid whilst in space, observing the effects of microgravity upon it.

Spacelab itself was a small, European-built space laboratory hosted aboard the Space Shuttle between 1983 and 1998. According to the ESA, results from that very lab have inspired everything from "space-age metals used in mass-produced smartphones" to "research that shows promise in treating chronic muscle diseases." Not bad, eh? [ESA]

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment With Fluids 30 Years Ago

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION