March 4, 2009 Astronauts may have the very cool job of floating around in space, but when it comes to grabbing a caffeine fix, they are faced with the decidedly uncool prospect of drinking out of aluminum bags with straws. Donald Pettit was on Space Shuttle mission STS-126 when he decided enough was enough and came up with the idea of an "On-Orbit Coffee Cup" designed to hold liquid in zero gravity situations.

In Pettit's design, liquid would be held in the narrow bottom of the cup by surface tension. A deep groove in the side of the cup would act as a wick, drawing liquid towards the top where a depression in the lip of the cup would retain beads of coffee - or other liquid.

The design raises questions, not the least of which is: how do you get the coffee into the cup in the first place? (Perhaps Gizmag readers can supply an answer?)

A prototype of the cup has yet to be built, and tested, and one hopes they try it first with cold liquids!

Karen Sprey

Via Tuvie.