Blowing Bubbles at the ISS
around on the International Space Station, astronaut-scientist Donald
Pettit discovered that in the absence of gravity, ordinary water would
maintain itself in a thin film stretched across a ring similar to a
child's bubble wand. When shaken, the film held, and would sometimes
eject a droplet or two of water - causing the film to get even thinner.
On Earth, the surface tension of plain water is too weak to withstand
the gravitational force. Adding soap to the water greatly increases
its surface tension, allowing the film to persist in a gravitational
field. This newfound phenomenon is being studied now for its application
in computational fluid dynamics and turbulence.