Bicycle Racing In Space Could be a Thing

It’s 2100 AD, and hackers and normals live together in mile-long habitats in the Earth-Moon system. The habitat is spun up so that the gravity inside is that of Earth, and for exercise, the normals cycle around on bike paths. But the hackers do their cycling outside, in the vacuum of space.

How so? With ion thrusters, rocketing out xenon gas as the propellant. And the source of power? Ultimately that’s the hackers’ legs, pedaling away at a drive system that turns two large Wimshurst machines.

Those Wimshurst machines then produce the high voltage needed for the thruster’s ionization as well as the charge flow. They’re also what gives the space bike it’s distinctly bicycle-like appearance. And based on the calculations below, this may someday work!

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Zero-G experiments will make some pretty pictures

Does a yo-yo work in zero-g? How about a paper airplane? These questions were answered in 1985 on the Space Shuttle Discovery, but reproduction of results is the cornerstone of the scientific method. [Rob] is about to reproduce some of the awesome zero-g pictures by riding on a vomit comet and taking a few pictures of water globes colliding.

For the last few months, [Rob] has had a standby ticket on the G-Force One, a plane that takes passengers on parabolic arcs to simulate microgravity. He was lucky as his standby ticket allowed him to take a few experiments on board, so [Rob] decided there’s just not enough awesome pictures of water colliding in zero-g.

He built a rig out of micro t-slot aluminum. A DSLR is mounted to the frame along with a few ‘test tubes’ containing water. When [Rob] blows through a tube, a small sphere of water will be released to collide with other object. Think of it as the nerd’s version of water splash photography.

Of course, a trip through zero-g wouldn’t be complete without a few more experiments. [Rob] plans on testing a few toys to see if yo-yos ‘sleep’ without gravity (they don’t), and if a grandfather clock works on the moon (there’s a month-long day, so kind of). We can’t wait to see [Rob]’s pictures once he comes back to Earth.