National Geographic : 2009 May
PHOTOS: MARK THIESSEN, NG PHOTOGRAPHER TOP ; DONALD R. PETTIT SPACE Space Sip In zero gravity, astronauts crave earthly comforts. That's why they strap their heads to foam "pillows" at night. Alas, liquids pool or slosh and must be ingested from a pouch via straw. "You feel like an insect sucking juices out of another insect," says astronaut Don Pettit. So, on a mission last November, he made a cup from a plastic sheet sealed with tape. The sharp angle draws liquids to the lip---a force called capillary action, which pulls fuel into rocket engines. In a thousand years, he says, today's technology will be long gone, but space travelers will drink up from his cup. ---Marc Silver Pettit imbibes on the space station. Astronaut Don Pettit made a replica of his zero-gravity cup for National Geographic and sent a note about the angle that makes liquids creep toward the lip.