Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Japan astronaut tests 'flying carpet' in space

japan space

Source: Yahoo!

A Japanese astronaut tested a "flying carpet" in outer space, folded laundry and used eye drops as part of a series of zero-gravity challenges submitted by the public.

Standing on a white sheet, Koichi Wakata was gliding smoothly through a cabin of the International Space Station, as if snowboarding, in a video clip posted online by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

"I flew on this magic carpet by using adhesive tape so that the soles of my feet stayed on it," the 45-year-old revealed, speaking into a microphone during what appeared at times like a variety show.

The experiment was part of 16 offbeat tasks selected from ideas sent to the space agency by hundreds of Japanese citizens, from nursery school pupils to a 90-year-old man.

Tackling another challenge, Wakata showed how to use eye drops in zero gravity, squeezing out a tiny ball of liquid and letting it perch at the tip of the container before carefully bringing it to his eye.

Wakata also handled the awkward task of folding laundry in zero gravity, struggling with a shirt and then, for added difficulty, the floating arms and legs of a blue space overall.

He performed the tasks in the Japanese laboratory Kibo (Hope) of the ISS on May 15, having also performed challenges in April, including push-ups.

The Japanese are watching waaaaaay too many silly game shows if they're flying around in carpets in space. Either that or watching too much Aladdin.

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