How Soap Is Made as Explained by Candy Corn, In Space


In his spare time up at the space station, NASA astronaut Don Pettit took his crew’s entire supply of candy corn and a ball of water to create a macroscopic, or visible-to-the eye, analogy as to how soap molecules work. Because there’s not much else a guy, who also happens to be a chemical engineer, can do with candy corn up in space.

Since soap molecules have a hydrophilic end and a hydrophobic end, one attracts water while the other repels it. The astronaut coated an end of each candy corn with oil to make it hydrophobic. This allowed the candies to arrange themselves around the water based on their attraction and repulsion.

When a surface is covered with surfactant molecules (ones that lower the surface’s tension), the oil is able to float away and mix with the water. The floaty candy corn sphere begins to solidify and binds itself together. Thus, candy-flavored soap.

Check out the video below for space candy.

H/T First We Feast

Packaged Food

NASA Giving Out Space Food (Plus Shipping)

NASA Space Food

How many FOODBEAST readers wanted to grow up to be an astronaut? For some, the dream is a little closer than they realize, at least when it comes to eating like an astronaut.

According to an LA Times blog, NASA will be giving away some 350 dehydrated meals to cities and schools, which includes: an entrée, a dessert, and a drink, bit will cost $28.03 after shipping and handling.

Steven J. Kempf, commissioner of the General Service Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, states, “Not only are we preserving a critical part of our nation’s history, but we are reusing government property in an unexpected way by giving these NASA artifacts a second life in our nation’s schools.”

The packages of food are considered to be a consolation for some cities that were not fortunate enough to land a space shuttle after losing out to Los Angeles. NASA advises that these meals are “not for consumption” and are purely for historical value. Still, It would be pretty cool to own some space meatloaf. Even if you can’t eat it.

(Photo Credit: NASA Images)