Many of us have seen the footage of astronauts in space floating around, playing cards, and controlling complicated technology all with little gravity. However what many of us don’t see is the complicated task of drinking a simple cup of coffee. Fortunately, a group of professors and scientists are hoping to make space-bound astronauts' morning routine a little better — by making the world's first anti-gravity cup of coffee.
Weislogel and some of his colleagues have recently been granted three patents for devices invented. One is a microgravity condensing heat exchanger, one is for a device that separates and controls multiphase fluids, and the last one (and we think the most important) is for a low-gravity coffee cup. “Absent the pull of gravity, pouring liquids can be very tricky," says Mark Weislogel, a physics professor at Portland State University, in a recent video. He explains that by the time an astronaut in space actually completed pouring a cup of coffee, he'd probably have no use for the coffee by then.
The cup, invented by Don Pettit, astronaut, Weislogel and mathematicians Paul Concus and Robert Finns, is a bit complicated. One side of the coffee cup has a sharp corner, and in the microgravity environment (the reason all that stuff floats in the space shuttle’s and space ships), the design of the cup forces the liquid to flow along the sharp edge of the channel, straight to the lips of the drinker. “This may well be what future space colonists use when they want to have a celebration," says Pettit.