In Microgravity, a CD Player Becomes a Gyroscope


[YouTube - Link]
NASA International Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit demonstrates how a spinning CD acts as a stabilizing gyroscope in microgravity.  When two and three CD players are combined in perpendicular planes, they provide a relatively stable platform.

- via reddit

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by \'\' Minnesotastan.


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What a great way to describe a "space clamp" - something which holds an object oriented in a certain direction while floating in microgravity. This is how spacecraft can point in one direction. Example: suppose you want an orbiting satellite (such as GPS) to always point down toward Earth. Spin the onboard gyroscopes. Voila! A "space clamp" to hold the thing pointing in one direction. You need an actual spinning disk to do this, by the way. Hardwired items such as memory sticks won't work...
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There are some brilliant comments about how this is "great research" and our "tax dollars hard at work." I would like to point out that, yes, astronauts can only do one thing all day. This 5 minute video did, in fact, consume an entire day's worth of work and nothing else was accomplished. I'm sure you spend every waking second working.

This video will probably be used in elementary schools all around the country and probably even in middle school science classes. This is a free video that can be used to demonstrate some interesting physics concepts using everyday materials that the students will be able to relate to. It's a great teaching tool and was probably put together after they finished the serious work.
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Its called science and just because you don't understand the usefulness of these goofy little experiments doesn't mean they don't have significance to us engineers. The space program is prob one of the most important things humans have ever done.
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