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Taste of Outer Space

Here’s a neat experiment that illustrates why it is harder to drink in outer space.  The kids get a goofy kind of satisfaction at the end of this because they’ve learned a scientific truth while at the same time having fun.


Glass of water
Drinking straw
Straight-back chair


1. Put the glass of water on the floor near the side of the chair.
2. Lie across the chair so that your stomach is higher than your mouth.  Your stomach will be on the seat of the chair with your feet and head hanging off either side.
3. Lift the glass and try to take a drink (without the straw).  What happens?
4. Now put the straw in the glass and try to take a sip.  What happens?

What happens?  It is almost too difficult to get a drink from the glass while lying on the chair.

Why?  Gravity!!  Gravity makes it easy to feed ourselves her on Earth because it automatically “forces” the food down your throat and helps it through the digestive tract.  There is no gravity in space.  When you lie on the chair you are effectively changing your center of gravity and imitating conditions in space.  However, when you use a straw it is a little easier because you are able to use pressure on the drink to force it into your mouth (sucking).  Once the drink is in your mouth, your muscles in your throat do the rest.


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