Everyone likes playing with magnets, even astronauts. Since 2002, NASA has been experimenting with tiny magnetic particles suspended in liquid aboard the International Space Station. The particles exhibit no special properties when moving through the liquid at random. But under the influence of a magnet, the particles are pulled into order, forming aggregate structures that force the liquid itself to become rigid. The process is similar to how chilling water coerces individual molecules to bond and produce ice crystals. The research has multiple applications for future technologies being developed here on Earth, including the design of new robotics systems used in aircraft and automobiles. Watch the video to learn more.
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Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Images courtesy of NASA
- Matt Davenport (USRA) [Lead]