Fusion reactors sure do look cool:

(Articles at NYT and Sandia; 2400x1595 JPEG here.)

Astronaut Don Pettit demonstrates how to drink tea with chopsticks!

And also peanut butter, honey, and crackers. You must watch these Quicktimes: Reel 1 (4.9 Mb), Reel 2 (1.4 Mb), Reel 3 (2.5 Mb), Reel 4 (2.6 Mb).

Check out his forearms at the end when he's smashing the can and his muscles tense up at the end of the last video: he looks like an anatomy drawing wrapped in skin! I wonder if he's just naturally wiry, or if being in space turns you into Iggy Pop?

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6 Responses:

  1. omnifarious says:

    The zmachine is more than just a fusion reactor. It's actually machine for putting a very large amount of energy into a very small space, which just so happens to be a good thing for trying to create fusion reactions.

    That's also what particle accelerators are for, though they also try to smash some small thing into some other small thing and gather lots of data about the debris, and the zmachine isn't really designed to do that.

  2. naturalborn says:

    That gigantic sparking you see isn't actually a main part of that device, it's a relatively miniscule amount of leakage which happens.

    His arms look badly atrophied. He comments when crushing the can that it's good muscle-building; My guess is that that's what it looks like when a few of your muscles tense while the rest are mush. Being in space is bad for your health.

  3. gregv says:

    His arms are probably the combination of three things. First is that you have to be in fairly good shape to be an astronaut. He probably wasn't a chubby guy to begin with. Second, if he's been up there for a while, your muscles and bones do atrophy due to how little work it takes to do things in zero gravity. Your body doesn't even need to support its own weight. Third is that, due to how much it costs per pound to get things into space, they're probably on a pretty lean diet with only limited extras, like the snack he's having.

    Very cool videos though.