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Klacker Balls in Space
11.18.04
 
Picture of several different toys including a top, paddle ball and a slinky
Image above: Astronauts have done experiments with toys in space. Credit: NASA
Toys are fun on Earth. Would they be fun in space? NASA wants kids to know about science in space. In 1993, toys flew on the Space Shuttle. Astronauts tested toys in space. This was one of the many experiments that the astronauts did on the Shuttle.

Why would toys be different in space? There is not much gravity in space. Gravity pulls things down on Earth. In space, things float.

One toy that they tested in space was klackers. A "klacker" is a handle with two balls. This one has a red ball and a yellow ball. The balls can move around. Both balls weigh the same.

Klackers on Earth
Picture of klackers moving around in a circle On Earth, you can make one of the balls spin around the handle and hit the other ball. Then, the first ball stops and the other ball spins. When the other ball hits the first, they start all over again.

 
Klackers in Space
Klackers did not work the same in space. An astronaut tried to use them. On the Space Shuttle, the two balls chased each other around the handle. First, one moved fast and then the other did. Picture of klackers moving around in a circle

 
Why didn't the klackers work the same in space? On Earth, the gravity made the difference. It pulls down on the balls. When one ball makes the other move, gravity pulls it down. That stops it from moving. In space, with little gravity, the ball keeps moving. It does not stop.
 
 
 
Adapted from Klacker Balls