I hate to sound puerile, but that's Just So Cool!
I bet it works because of air resistance and gravity doesn't matter much.
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Correction: boomerangs work in a weightless environment with atmosphere. If it turned out they work in a vacuum by inertial effects, that would be cool, but this is no surprise. A propellor would work as well. A pogo stick would have problems.
Sir, why do you hate science space boomerangs?
Because their first album was so retro.
If it turned out they worked in a vacuum, wouldn't that sort of, um, violate conservation of momentum?
I can't ever get them to work right on earth. :-/
This is the best news of today.
Now I'm sitting here trying to recall whether 'g' appeared in the page of equations we derived in my Advanced Classical Mechanics class in college. Suffice to say, even fully-vectorized, it's an ugly sheet of work.
I hope not. Because as the video demonstrates, g is irrelevant.
We worked out boomerangs in some class too, I remember, but I actuallyrecall it as being quite elegant. There's the spinning gyroscope of thestick, the lift generated by the ends as they spin through the air, the differentiallift caused by the sticks motion through the air making the top ofthe spinning stick go faster than the bottom, and the precession causedby this uneven torque. A bunch of cool things all happening at the same time.And not too distantly related to how a motorcycle turns.
This would make a nice Science In Action demo -- let's work out the physics andthen, noticing it's all independent of gravity, make a prediction about what happensat zero-g. Then watch the video.
They offer some explanation here:http://www.universetoday.com/2008/03/24/does-a-boomerang-work-in-space/
Sokka of the Water Tribe is most pleased to hear of this news!
...everyone will be using those razor boomerangs that kid in The Road Warrior had instead of guns. This guy's just warming up.