NASA astronaut Don Pettit has managed to fashion a coffee mug suitable for use in zero-G conditions, during his stay on the International Space Station. Motivated by the less than pleasing experience of drinking coffee through a straw from a sealed pouch, Pettit used a piece of folded plastic to create a teardrop-shaped cup. Surface tension keeps the coffee inside, rather than drifting around and scalding people.
Check out the zero-gravity coffee cup in action after the cut
“We can suck our coffee from a bag, but to drink it from a cup is hard to do because you can’t get the cup up to get the liquid out, and it’s also easy to slosh. The way this works is, the cross section of this cup looks like an airplane wing. The narrow angle here will wick the coffee up” Don Pettit
In fact, the cup relies on the same principles used to get fuel into rockets when flying through space. Pettit was apparently known for his tinkering and inventing during his last stay on the Space Station, in 2002/2003, and left behind a bag of tools there.
The current occupants of the International Space Station are installing a urine recycling system that will create fresh water for a new, six-person crew. They arrived last week.