By now, you’ve either seen a fidget spinner or you know someone who has one. You may even have one yourself.
For the five people living under a rock who aren’t familiar with them, they’re essentially these small gyros that people spin for, well, fun? Maybe? Who knows. They’re popular; certainly popular enough for NASA to bring one of them to the International Space Station.
So, how do fidget spinners work without gravity? Does it continuously spin and spin? As it turns out, no. However, fidget spinners do crazy and spin way faster and longer than they do on Earth.
As NASA astronaut Randy Breznik explains, “(allowing) the fidget spinner to float reduces the bearing friction by permitting the rate of the central ring and outer spinner to equalize, and the whole thing spins as a unit.”
The friction caused by the breathable air in the ISS would cause the fidget spinner to eventually slow down, but what if it was released in outer space? There’s no oxygen to cause friction, so that couldn’t slow it down and there’s no gravity either. Would it just spin and spin?
Who knows. Here’s the video demonstrating the fidget spinners aboard the ISS.