This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment With Fluids 30 Years Ago

This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment WIth Fluids 30 Years Ago

It might look more like an engine from an ageing 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.

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

Spacelab itself was a small, European-built space laboratory that was 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]

This Crazy Machine Let Astronauts Experiment WIth Fluids 30 Years Ago

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