Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Nickelodeon Debuts First Footage of Iconic Green Slime in Space | KCA 2020

As it turns out, what "you can't do (that) on television" on Earth, you can do in outer space.

Nickelodeon, the number-one network for kids that that made green slime its trademark after it was first introduced on the 1980's comedy show You Can't Do That on Television, used its annual Kids' Choice Awards broadcast on Saturday, May 2, 2020 to premiere the first footage of its brightly-hued goo floating in microgravity.

A bag of Nickelodeon green slime floats above Earth inside the Cupola aboard the International Space Station. (Nickelodeon)

"We sent slime into outer space and yes, it was out of this world," said Nickelodeon alum Victoria Justice (Zoey 101, Victorious, Fun Size), who hosted this year's awards show - which was produced virtually due to the on-going COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. "I can't wait to see what happens when astronauts let slime loose in zero gravity!"

"The International Space Station is the only place where you can do this, so don't try this at home — or if you try, expect something very, very different," said European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano as part of the slime demonstration.

Slime in Space

NASA astronaut Christina Koch squeezes a green slime blob out of a bag on board the International Space Station. (Nickelodeon)

While the public got its first look at the slime in space on Saturday, the footage was filmed in September 2019, while Parmitano and NASA astronaut Christina Koch were still aboard the space station (the two returned to Earth in February).

Organized by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, the Slime in Space, or "Non-Newtonian Fluids in Microgravity," project was aimed at creating educational videos and other content to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts to Nickelodeon's target audience, elementary and middle school students.

"Slime is a non-Newtonian fluid, a material in which its viscosity (resistance to flow) changes based on the amount of shear stress applied to it — for example, through squeezing or stirring," explained the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages the National Lab for NASA.

Packaged in its own specially-labeled "Slime Bag," the green fluid launched aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft with other science experiments and supplies for the space station's Expedition 61 crew in July 2019.

"Houston, we have a slime blob"

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Christina Koch experiment with Nickelodeon's green slime aboard the International Space Station. (Nickelodeon)

"Today, we're going to be working some some really crazy science with slime in space," said Parmitano, introducing what he and Koch were about to do on camera. "We want to see and study how this strange concoction behaves in orbit."

"Boom!" Koch proclaimed, as she squeezed the slime out of its bag through a straw to float free. "Houston, we have a slime blob."

As shown during the Kids’ Choice Awards 2020: Celebrate Together' segment, Parmitano and Koch were able to start the slime spinning in mid-air and to adhere to a paddle board, the latter demonstrating surface tension. The two also filled a balloon with the material and then popped it with a safety pin to watch what happened and they ejected the slime from a large syringe.

Of course, what Nickelodeon's slime is most famous for is being poured atop of people, including celebrities attending the annual Kids' Choice Awards - Nickelodeon's highest honor. While the lack of a gravitational pull prevented the astronauts from spilling the slime over each others' heads, it did not mean they went unsplattered.

"Ahh! I'm slimed!" yelled Koch while laughing, as Parmitano sprayed the gooey green substance on her arm and across her shirt. (The astronauts erected a large cloth over a nearby hatchway to catch any wayward slime from going elsewhere aboard the station.)

Of slime and Science

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano sprays NASA astronaut Christina Koch with Nickelodeon's green slime on board the International Space Station. (Nickelodeon)

"Playing with slime in space is way more fun than I thought it would be — and way more unpredictable," said Koch. "Just like all of the other science we do, you cannot replicate these experiments on the Earth, you need zero gravity to see some of this behavior."

Since the early days of human spaceflight, astronauts have reported delight while observing the behavior of liquids in microgravity, from water blobs to quickly-decarbonated soda balls. It has not been all for fun, though, as past experiments have helped improve the design of fuel tanks and microfluidic devices for medical applications.

In addition to filming the slime experiment for Nickelodeon using traditional video cameras, the demonstration was also captured using a virtual reality (VR) 360-degree camera as part of "The ISS Experience" being produced by Felix & Paul Studios and TIME Magazine. That immersive footage, and additional content from Nickelodeon's digital platforms, have yet to be released.

Watch Nick's out-of-this-world Slime in Space sneak peek below!:

From The Science Times:

Astronauts Get Slimy With Nickelodeons' Iconic Green Slime Aboard the ISS to Test the Goo’s Behavior in Microgravity

Last year, Nickelodeon sent a package of its famous green slime to the International Space Station orbiting Earth. The goo was sent in a package labelled 'Slime Bag' aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft back in July.

Good news; the slime has finally arrived, and the kid's television network just released the footage of astronauts onboard the station having the time of their lives while enjoying the goo.

The motive wasn't all for fun and games, but the astronauts were also tasked to perform a series of experiments with the slime to test its microgravity in space. The analysis entitled 'Non-Newtonian Fluids in Microgravity' was also meant to promote science to the younger generation.

European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Christina Koch from NASA released the slime about the ship to see how the concoction would change in microgravity.

During the experiment, the astronauts spun the slime in the air, ejected it from a syringe, played ping pong with the goo, pricked it with a pin, and even slimed each other.

According to Koch, experiments such as the slime observation cannot be replicated on Earth since zero gravity is a prerequisite to observe such behavior.

The filming of the video was completed in 2019, and both Koch and Parmitano have since returned to Earth. Both landed on the ground on February 5 in Kazakhstan at 4:12 A.M. estimated time.

Koch came home with a record of completing the first all-female spacewalk. She performed the spacewalk with her colleague and longtime friend Jessica Meir in January.

What is a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

The ISS US National Laboratory explained that a non-Newtonian fluid is a material in which its viscosity changes based on the amount of shear stress applied to it. In simpler terms, non-Newtonian fluids are solid if you apply a sudden force to it and liquid if you use a steady, slow force.

Examples of the fluid include toothpaste, shampoo, honey, custard, corn starch, paint, blood, melted butter, and starch suspensions.

What makes non-Newtonian fluids unique is viscosity. Viscosity is the rate at which fluid flows. Ordinary fluids, like water, have a consistent viscosity, so they flow the same no matter what force you apply.

In Non-Newtonian fluids, viscosity can alter. If you apply a sudden force, the viscosity will rapidly increase, forming a semisolid surface.

The Fascination with Slime

Slime products have increased in popularity in the last year. Thanks to its fascinating appearance and squishy texture, it's now a favorite toy for children and adults alike.

The slime of today is far gooier and more decorated than that green liquid on Nickelodeon. More than 5 million posts on Instagram are tagged with #slime, showing brightly colored goo filled with glitter and shades of all sorts.

Slime has become so popular that the American Chemical Society recently published a fact sheet about the substance, including a detailed scientific explanation on how to make the gunk.

Slime is the fancier cousin of Play-Doh or putty and has exploded as an interest for many. The obsession with slime becomes apparent as shops sell out of ingredients, YouTube tutorials are watched by millions, books about it are published, and venues are being booked for "slime parties".


From Smithsonian Magazine:

Astronauts Got Slimed in Space for Science

Nickelodeon teamed up with NASA to send packets of green slime into space to test its behavior in microgravity and to create a virtual field trip for kids

If you grew up watching the kid’s television network Nickelodeon, chances are you understand that there are few honors in this world greater than being doused with the channel’s signature bright green slime. Last week, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) joined the illustrious ranks of the slimed, all in the name of science, according to a release.

Nickelodeon sent around two liters of their green goop into orbit in the summer of 2019 aboard SpaceX’s 18th commercial resupply mission. The Slime in Space project’s idea was to create an educational virtual field trip for teachers to use in class, but materials scientists were also tapped to guide astronauts through a series of experiments to learn more about how slime behaves in microgravity.

Researchers from Portland State University’s (PSU) mechanical and materials engineering department were excited to design the experiments for the unique project.

“We just went, ‘You’re kidding!’ They’re going to put slime in space,” Mark Weislogel, an engineer at PSU, tells Morgan Romero of local NBC affiliate KGW8. “That’s such a unique fluid, we would never want to miss the opportunity to study something like that.”

The project held special resonance for Weislogel’s fellow PSU engineer Rihana Mungin, who grew up watching Nickelodeon.

“I audibly squealed and was very excited,” Mungin tells KGW8. “I’m excited when projects like this come around because it’s an opportunity to show off what we are capable of doing.”

Mungin and Weislogel designed a series of eight demonstrations for NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Drew Morgan and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano to perform aboard the ISS National Laboratory.

"It's not often for your job on the space station that you're given a couple of hours to play with slime, with the ground teams directing you to shoot your friend with slime from a syringe or fill a balloon with slime," Koch tells Ashley Strickland of CNN. "My favorite thing about that experiment is that it highlighted the concept of curiosity leading to discovery. This is discovery-based science. It's why we seek knowledge."

If you’re wondering what we could hope to learn from sending slime into space, the answer lies in its very name. Slime is slimy, which adds up to its being a fluid that is thicker, or more resistant to flow, than fluids like water. To be precise, slime is around 20,000 times more resistant to flow than water, something physicists call a substance’s viscosity.

This makes slime behave in unexpected ways in the microgravity of the ISS, and improving our understanding of how more viscous fluids act in space may help improve the design of systems that were designed with Earth’s gravity in mind.

Without the gravity we’re used to, bubbles don’t rise, droplets won’t fall and equipment involving liquids, such as boilers, condensers, plant watering systems, blenders or coffee cups, become useless, Mungin and Weislogel explain in a release.

"Interestingly, we define liquid on Earth as something that takes the shape of its container," Koch tells CNN. "Water just turns into a sphere in microgravity, so we've had to remake definitions of different kinds of matter in space. This experiment is a great demonstration of how microgravity can contribute to our understanding of things on Earth, especially the things we take for granted."

The astronauts dutifully dispensed blobs of slime that formed floating green spheres. Water, by comparison, also formed floating blobs, but, because of water’s lower viscosity they kept wobbling in amorphous shapes long after the slime balls had stabilized into perfect orbs.

In another experiment, Parmitano got slimed when Koch fired a slime jet through a hovering green droplet. Koch expected a slimy explosion when popping slime-filled balloons, but when the balloon ruptured the slime scarcely moved, holding virtually the same shape.

An impromptu test yielded one of the more interesting results. Along with the packets of slime, the astronauts had been sent two paddles with water repellent, or hydrophobic, coatings. Parmitano squished a glob of slime between the paddles and pulled the paddles apart at different speeds.

Though the paddles were hydrophobic, the slime stuck to them and when Parmitano pulled the paddles apart slowly he briefly created a short slime bridge that then snapped, with the slime returning to the surface of each paddle. When he pulled the paddles apart quickly, a much longer slime bridge formed and then suddenly broke apart into a series of slime small balls spanning the distance between the paddles.

The experiment provided a perfect demonstration of why slime is what’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid. Such fluids are so-named because they break Newton’s law of viscosity, which states that a fluid’s viscosity shouldn’t change if force of one kind or another is applied to it, per Encyclopedia Britannica. The slime acted differently when Parmitano changed the force he applied to it by pulling faster, proving slime a textbook non-Newtonian fluid.

CNN reports that Mungin once saw this same phenomenon in Weislogel’s class, but that demonstration didn’t involve slime. Instead, it took place beneath a microscope. That’s because Newtonian fluids like water act like super-viscous non-Newtonian fluids, like slime, at small scales. This finding is one of the many ways these slime experiments can help researchers more effectively manipulate liquids in space.

Weislogel tells CNN the unique behavior of fluids in space could be used to create systems that move liquids like fuel or wastewater without pumps, or that automatically water plants without making a mess.

The experiments were decidedly messy, but Mungin tells KGW8 she hopes they help inspire kids to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math.

“Sometimes people have this very rigid idea of what science looks like, what a scientist looks like,” she tells KGW8. “And even though we're having fun—we’re having an incredible time—we're also getting immense amounts of data that we could never get otherwise."


From CNN:

Astronauts experimented with Nickelodeon's slime in space

(CNN)In a first for humans in space, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano got slimed on the International Space Station — all in the name of science.

Even though things got as messy as can be expected, the biggest surprise of all was the strange and fascinating ways that Nickelodeon's famous green goo reacted in the absence of gravity.

The results of the experiment could have implications for handling liquids in space, including processing carbon dioxide and wastewater, watering plants grown on the space station and even life support systems on future deep space missions.

Nickelodeon sent about two liters of slime to the space station last summer and Koch, Parmitano and Morgan experimented with it for two hours in the space station's galley, or kitchen.

During her record-breaking 328 days in space, Koch worked on a vast variety of scientific experiments on the space station, including fire dynamics in space, plant biology and research that could benefit human health.

Koch has childhood memories of watching people get slimed on reruns of "You Can't Do That on Television" on Nickelodeon, but she never imagined she would be testing out the dynamics of slime in space.

While Koch and her fellow astronauts had fun with the slime, they were also surprised by the scientific observations they made during the activities.

"It's not often for your job on the space station that you're given a couple of hours to play with slime, with the ground teams directing you to shoot your friend with slime from a syringe or fill a balloon with slime," Koch told CNN.

"My favorite thing about that experiment is that it highlighted the concept of curiosity leading to discovery. This is discovery-based science. It's why we seek knowledge."

Liquids in space

On Earth, liquids are governed by gravity. But in space and the absence of gravity, bubbles don't rise, droplets don't fall, and liquid doesn't flow the way we're used to observing them on our home turf.

Think about a simple factor of your morning routine, such as pouring a cup of coffee. In space, you can't pour coffee into a cup, and you can't drink coffee from a cup because the coffee wouldn't slide out of the cup and down your throat.

But a coffee cup designed to function in the absence of gravity can help, based on 2012 experiments conducted by astronaut Don Pettit on the space station with direction from Mark Weislogel, Portland State University professor in the department of mechanical and materials engineering.
Weislogel has a long history of conducting fluid experiments on the space station. So when Nickelodeon said they wanted to send slime to space, they worked with Weislogel and Rihana Mungin, a Portland State University mechanical engineering graduate research assistant.

Slime is considered a non-Newtonian fluid, which means that its viscosity changes in reaction to different forces.

Viscosity is the thickness of a liquid, defined as the resistance to motion when force is applied. Water is a Newtonian fluid because it follows Newton's law of viscosity, meaning the thickness doesn't change if force is applied.

Compared to water, slime is 20,000 times more viscous, or thicker, because it's a polymer substance that's part solid, part liquid. When the force of gravity is no longer acting on water, surface tension (the force on the surface of a liquid that causes it to act elastically) takes over.

Weislogel and Mungin designed the experiments the astronauts would conduct in space for Nickelodeon's Slime in Space project.

Together, Nickelodeon partnered with the researchers and the ISS National Laboratory. Non-NASA research is managed by the ISS National Laboratory, which utilizes the space station's unique microgravity environment to send up experiments from commercial businesses, academic institutions and government agencies that can benefit Earth.

The slime experiment is an example of fluid dynamics, with eight different demonstrations to showcase the properties of slime in the absence of gravity. A set of hydrophobic paddles, or paddles with water-repellent coating, were also sent along with the slime.

"Interestingly, we define liquid on Earth as something that takes the shape of its container," Koch said. "Water just turns into a sphere in microgravity, so we've had to remake definitions of different kinds of matter in space. This experiment is a great demonstration of how microgravity can contribute to our understanding of things on Earth, especially the things we take for granted."

Getting slimy

Slime has never been to the space station, so the astronauts tested it in a variety of ways. And they had fun doing it.

They started by releasing a similar amount of slime and water into the gallery. Both formed floating blobs, which the astronauts then tried to spin. While the wobbly water blob spun continuously unless it was interrupted by the paddle, the slime actually stretched out into a solid-looking oblong shape and rotated. It sprang back to a sphere when the rotation was stopped.

They also used dental floss in an attempt to cut the slime, which didn't work, and pumped air into a slime blob to create a slime bubble.

Parmitano got slimed when Koch shot a jet of slime through a slime blob floating in front of him. Koch was also slimed when a jet of slime was shot at one of the paddles held at an angle and redirected toward her.

Koch expected to be slimed again when slime-filled balloons were popped. The balloons peeled back, but the slime maintained its shape as if it were still cocooned by the balloon. Perhaps the biggest surprise occurred when Parmitano put slime on the paddles. The slime appeared to stick to the paddle despite its water-repllent coating, and he created 3D waves in the slime by moving the paddle up and down.

Then, without being directed to, Parmitano brought two slime-coated paddles together. When he pulled them apart, a long "liquid bridge" of slime formed, then broke into five perfectly placed satellite droplets, Mungin said.

This is something Mungin once saw in Weislogel's class, but on a tiny scale within a thousandth of a second beneath a microscope.

"We were able to see that exact phenomenon with this large and bright liquid in free-floating space," Mungin said.

They hung a shower curtain in the galley to keep slime from getting all over the space station, but it still took them an hour to clean up after the experiments were over. Slime is designed to make a mess and cover everything, but luckily, they could capture the floating blobs.

Fun experiment, big insights

In the footage of the experiments, the researchers could study what they call the viscous limit, a benchmark for liquid analysis. The results of the experiments will be published in journals and used when studying liquids on Earth, as well as designing future experiments for the space station.

Slime acts as an analog for other liquids on the space station because if a droplet is small enough, it will act like slime, Weislogel said. And slime is safe, without posing a risk to the astronauts, so they could handle it in the open cabin, Mungin said.

Future experiments on the space station could involve tabletop experiments, rather than being contained in boxes. Understanding how liquids and droplets behave in the open cabin is key to safely carrying out those experiments.

"When gravity is small, our intuition stalls when it comes to liquids in space," Weislogel said. "Without bubbles rising and droplets falling, most of our fluid systems we design for life on Earth don't work."

And if systems dependent on liquids in space fail, it would be more difficult to fix them the farther out missions travel away from Earth. Experiments on the space station involving liquids are critical to pushing technology ahead.

"We have so much to learn in terms of intuition, to build intuition, because we're so used to making spherical tanks and round tubes," Weislogel said. "In space, that's not the way forward."

Weislogel envisioned pump-less systems where liquid moves based on the shape and size of containers, like fuel depots that can orbit the moon and transfer propellant to a spacecraft without a pump. Watering plants on the space station also requires crew intervention, but Weislogel would love to see a system that can grow plants autonomously.

The space station is unique in that it doesn't focus on one kind of science, but what it can offer is something that other labs can't — withholding gravity as a variable, Koch said. And the space environment provides a wide spectrum of discovery, she said.

Experiments on the space station have another power: inspiration, especially for kids.

Nickelodeon created "A Virtual Field Trip," a video that showcases demonstrations on the space station with slime, as well as experiments with slime on Earth conducted by Mungin and a group of young students. They have also provided related activities for kids to do at home.

"It's such a unique experience," Mungin said. "It was pure joy sending slime to space and then getting to come back to it by doing experiments with kids who had the same excitement level as mine. The ultimate science can have such an impact on kids looking to go into STEM."

Especially during this unique time as the pandemic keeps students at home and out of their traditional classrooms, Koch hopes that the slime experiments cause kids to look around their homes and environment and ask new questions and "bring their curiosity" to each thing they encounter.

Koch's curiosity, dreams and hard work led her to become an electrical engineer and an astronaut.

"There's trepidation to dream too big," Koch said. "Even if you're thinking about something that seems too lofty, it isn't out of reach."


From KGW8:

PORTLAND, Ore — What happens when you send slime into space? That's what an unlikely pair, Nickelodeon and NASA, set out to discover - with the help of Portland State University engineers.

Nickelodeon’s virtual field trip 250 miles above Earth shows international space station scientists experimenting with slime to find out how it reacts in a microgravity environment. And it shows them getting slimed in space for the first time ever.

For that they needed to turn to the experts, which happen to be from Portland State University’s mechanical and materials engineering department in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science.

The department has worked with NASA before on several "wacky" but useful projects over the years.

“We just went, ‘You’re kidding!’ They’re going to put slime in space,” said PSU mechanical engineering professor Mark Weislogel. “That’s such a unique fluid, we would never want to miss the opportunity to study something like that.”

Weislogel and research assistant Rihana Mungin designed the experiments for the astronauts.

As a kid, Mungin was a Nickelodeon fan and says it felt surreal to be called upon to help with this project.

“I audibly squealed and was very excited,” Mungin said. “We perform experiments aboard the International Space Station on a regular basis and we have a control room on campus and that is just incredible. I’m excited when projects like this come around because it’s an opportunity to show off what we are capable of doing.”

They set out to learn what happens when slime blobs spin around or shoot out of a syringe. What happens when a balloon filled with slime pops in space where liquids are weightless?

Never before done, Mungin and Weislogel say it turned out to be fun -- and informative.

"When you stretch liquids they rupture and form droplets. That could be disastrous if you’re having to take a blood sample, take a urine sample or you're doing some DNA sequencing,” Weislogel told KGW, “Those little drops are produced and go all over the place. Well, what's the limit of behavior of those drops when viscosity is huge? Nickelodeon slime! OK, so we're in good shape there.”

Slime is very viscous, or thick, because it is a polymer substance that is part liquid and part solid. Its viscosity changes when different forces are applied to it. Weislogel says the biggest takeaway from sending slime in space is that it breaks down over time and its properties change.

With the video from the space station and data they collected, PSU researchers studied what they call a viscous limit. Essentially, the viscous limit of the slime serves as a benchmark. The results from their project will guide future experiments on the space station in low gravity and with liquids here on earth.

“Droplets don’t fall, bubbles don’t rise, liquid does not do what you think it’s going to,” Weislogel said. “We just need to get that experience more and more as we're making our systems better and better for living and working in space.”

Nickelodeon posted the virtual field trip online so kids and their parents can follow along from home while doing distance learning or on summer break.

Mungin hopes this opens doors and windows for kids and peaks their interest in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“I think sometimes people have this very rigid idea of what science looks like, what a scientist looks like. And even though we're having fun - we’re having an incredible time - we're also getting immense amounts of data that we could never get otherwise," Mungin said.


More Nick: 'The Astronauts' - Nickelodeon Debuts First Trailer for New Live-Action Series Premiering Fall 2020!

Originally published: Monday, May 04, 2020.

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