Good to know: Yo-yos work in space.

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14 Responses:

  1. you might have been in SF too long when:
    you immediately notice the rosy cheeks, grey-like-eyeshadow eyelids and slightly flamboyant body language in the NASA scientist and find yourself wondering what his drag performer name is.

  2. Andrew says:

    Wouldn't want those astronauts to get bored or anything

  3. jmags says:

    As programmers become increasingly normal, it's good to see that astronauts remain loopy as fuck.

  4. nooj says:

    I, for one, am proud my taxpayer dollars supported this!

    Such delicious deadpan irony throughout. "It's important to know the physics so you can get a better job, so you can spend more time with your yo-yo." in space!

  5. Joe says:

    That'll be great when yo-yo strings are made of carbon nanotubes so that big yo-yo's can be dropped from the ISS to the Earth, put in sleepers while loaded with supplies, then snapped back up.

    • Jake Nelson says:

      I have actually seen this seriously proposed, more or less, except requiring a much much more massive space station in a somewhat higher orbit. And if aimed [im]properly it could obliterate cities, which is generally considered a bug in non-military projects.

      • NotTheBuddha says:

        How does the city buster failure mode work?

        • Jake Nelson says:

          Aim at underground point instead of a safe distance up, go blam. About how applying sufficient kinetic force always works, really. Drop a large enough object, and all sorts of fascinating dynamics happens with the ground. If that object is spinning or vibrating, it goes all sorts of fun nonlinear. Liquefaction being the most obvious, but there's some really weird properties of rigid concrete structure + soft dirt + sufficient vibration that result in buildings going badly askew, roads twisting, etc, quite aside from stuff just breaking. Big yo-yo means tremendous angular momentum... very large effects for the mass involved (and it'd have to be pretty massive to work anyway).

      • relaxing says:

        How does the toss supplies into a giant spinning yoyo mode work?

        Get the supplies spinning around at the same speed, I suppose. Maybe that's what the "Contact" inter-dimensional wormhole launcher was doing.

        • 205guy says:

          I am appalled at the lack of actual thinking here. Let's say you had an actual yo-yo, then with this high-tech device called a ball-bearing, you can attach something to the spinning axle. I think this is what Joe meant when he said, cryptically, "put in sleepers" (a sleeper being a yo-yo that spins at the end of its string--actually it is spinning within a loop of string, and a tug causes enough friction to make it "climb the string").

          But really, you wouldn't have an actual yo-yo. A yo-yo is just a flywheel for storing energy, with an integrated string climbing device (which conveniently happens to be the axle of said flywheel). But any energy storage device along with any string descending/ascending device would work (minus inefficiency loss--traded for a gain in practicality), as long as it lets you capture the energy of the fall...

          Wait a minute! A yo-yo (or any energy-storing descending device) on the space station orbit (or the further geostationary orbit) is not going to fall towards the earth. It would take additional energy input to make it go "down," and that energy is "lost" (I think it gets expended in tensing the string). I'm not saying it's impossible, I'd just like someone with more orbital mechanics knowledge than either of us to give us an opinion.

  6. Leonardo Herrera says:

    "Because I'm in space."

    How smug.