Ever wanted to learn how to yo yo in space?
Fun-loving astronaut Don Pettit — you know, the guy who demonstrated the physics of Angry Birds in space — shows off some yo-yo tricks he’s invented in a zero-gravity environment.
You’ll get a better sense of these tricks by watching the video, but here are a few brief descriptions:
Shoot the Planets: The yo-yo orbits the earth, the moon and does a tethered assist (better known down on earth as man on flying trapeze) three times before unwinding and returning to the palm.
The Asteroid: The string is uncontrolled and limp, basically bouncing back and forth. The trick here is to not get hit on the head.
There’s a lot of physics involved with yo-yos, Pettit explains. There’s angular momentum involved with the yo-yo spinning and moving in an arc, and linear momentum with the yo-yo going in and out of the string. There’s also slight energy expenditure with moving parts and drag with air (less of an issue in space).