Astronaut Patents Zero-Gravity Coffee Cup (VIDEO)

A Nasa astronaut and his colleagues has been granted three patents for technology related to the development of a coffee cup.

A Zero Gravity coffee cup.

It turns out that coffee is one of those liquids which behaves extremely strangely in space, meaning a regular cup just isn't going to cut it.

"The coffee would be very hard to control," Mark Weislogel of Portland State University told Nasa.

"In fact, it probably wouldn't [come out of the cup]. You'd have to shake the cup toward your face and hope that some of the hot liquid breaks loose and floats toward your mouth."

To help combat these issues, astronaut Don Pettit helped to develop the Capillary Flow Experiment during his time on board the International Space Station, alongside Weislogel and his team.

Nasa explains that one of the key principles on trial is the principle of 'interior corners':

"If two solid surfaces meet at a narrow-enough angle, fluids in microgravity naturally flow along the join--no pumping required. This capillary effect could be used to guide all kinds of fluids through spacecraft, from cryogenic fuel to recycled waste water. The phenomenon is difficult to study on Earth, where it is damped by gravity, yet on the space station large scale corner flows are easy to create and observe. "

By studying this principle the team has been granted three patents. One if for a microgravity condensing heat exchanger. Another if for a device which "separates and controls multiphase fluids". And the third?

The coffee cup.

"As you sip, more fluid keeps coming, and you can enjoy your coffee in a weightless environment-- clear down to the last drop," says Pettit. "This may well be what future space colonists use when they want to have a celebration."

Take a look at the device in the Nasa-produced video, above.

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