Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Hard Drive Recovered from Columbia Shuttle Solves Physics Problem":
Researchers have finally published the results of data recovered from a cracked and singed hard drive that fell to Earth in the debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia, which exploded during reentry on February 1, 2003, killing all seven crewmembers.

The hard drive contained data from the CVX-2 (Critical Viscosity of Xenon) experiment, designed to study the way xenon gas flows in microgravity. The findings, published this April in the journal Physical Review E, confirmed that when stirred vigorously, xenon exhibits a sudden change in viscosity known as shear thinning. The same effect allows whipped cream and ketchup to go from flowing smoothly like liquids to holding their shapes like solids.