A spiral top with LEDs produces beautiful patterns in micro-g

Via Universe Today comes a pointer to an interesting in-space microgravity art event carried out a few years ago in the Japanese Kibo module on the International Space Station : “Auroral Oval Spiral Top” Performed in Kibo:Experiment – International Space Station – JAXA

The “Auroral Oval Spiral Top”, which was proposed by Professor Takuro Osaka of the University of Tsukuba,  involves a “spinning top that has arms illuminating with LED linear light sources and point light sources. Various movements of the spinning top floating in microgravity show aurora-like light traces.”  The image below came from a “performance” on May 11, 2011.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a video of the event.

Photo: Aurora Oval Spiral Top

Aurora Oval Spiral Top

An earlier trial in 2009 used a simpler “spiral top”:

Spiral Top (performed in April 2009)

Spiral Top (performed in April 2009)

According to the JAXA page:

The project’s precursor mission “Spiral Top”, which was performed on April 30, 2009, was designed to produce light arts using a spinning top that has arms illuminating with LED point light sources. “Auroral Oval Spiral Top” was the second version and designed to produce aurora-like luminescence traces using a spinning top with both linear and point light sources. In microgravity, the center of gravity of the spinning top continuously and randomly moves while it is spinning. Using the characteristics of the top in microgravity, the project tries to produce various light arts using its unexpected movements/spins, by changing attaching locations of its arms and weights.

I hope that in a few years, the cost of putting people into space will drop to the point it will be possible for many artists and artisans to experience space and microgravity first hand. I expect there will be many amazing things they will come up with as they experiment with the effects that microgravity can produce.

Space policy roundup – Oct.27.13

Some space policy/politics related items:

UpdateSpace Policy Events for the Week of October 28 – November 1, 2013


AMSAT & ISS amateur radio news

Go to AMSAT News for the latest headlines about developments in amateur and student satellites and for updates about amateur radio on the ISS.

ANS 300 Weekly AMSAT Bulletin – October 26, 2013:
* FUNCube Data Warehouse Ready for Demo
* Satellite contact between Cuba and UK
* New Satellite Segment in IARU Region 2 Bandplan
* Astronaut Rick Mastracchio KC5ZTE to Geocache the ISS
* FUNCube SDR Radio Telescope
* NASA CubeSat Space Missions
* ARISS Team Recognized by NW Indiana Society of Innovators
* ARISS News
* Satellite Shorts From All Over
* All Things Symposium, a Chronology
* AMSAT BoD Meet in Houston October 31 and November 1
* 2013 AMSAT Symposium Presentations
* Symposium Banquet – 30 Years of Amateur Radio In Human Space Flight
* AMSAT Symposium Sunday Battleship Texas Tour
* AMSAT Symposium Monday NASA JSC Tour Monday 8:00 am – 2:30 pm CST

Univ. North Dakota students to simulate deep space mission by living 10 days in inflatable habitat

The University of North Dakota UND Human Spaceflight Laboratory, which recently participated in the World Space Walk event with two other space suit teams, will start a ten day simulation of a planetary mission this Sunday: NDX Planetary Exploration System First Test Starts this Weekend! – NDX Space Suit Projects

Final preparations are taking place at the UND Department of Space Studies for the initial 10 days testing of the Lunar/Mars Inflatable Planetary Habitat. Three crewmembers , all UND Aerospace Graduate Students, will take part on this first mission. The objectives are to test the habitat, pressurized rover, and NDX-2AT space suits for habitation, and to test if all systems are operational.
Further details will be published on [NDX Space Suit Projects blog …], Saturday [Oct 26, 2013].

More details about the project:

Drawing of the habitat in which the 3 “crew members” will reside for 10 days.