Watching +100 The Simpsons episodes at the same time

The pitch drop experiment

The pitch drop experiment is a long-term experiment which measures the flow of a piece of pitch over many years. Pitch is the name for any of a number of highly viscous liquids which appear solid, most commonly bitumen. At room temperature, tar pitch flows at a very slow rate, taking several years to form a single drop.


The most famous version of the experiment was started in 1927 by Professor Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, to demonstrate to students that some substances that appear to be solid are in fact very-high-viscosity fluids. Parnell poured a heated sample of pitch into a sealed funnel and allowed it to settle for three years. In 1930, the seal at the neck of the funnel was cut, allowing the pitch to start flowing. Large droplets form and fall over the period of about a decade. The eighth drop fell on 28 November 2000, allowing experimenters to calculate that the pitch has a viscosity approximately 230 billion (2.3×1011) times that of water.


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[ wikipedia ]

Mars500: 520 days of isolation

They have been locked up yesterday (3 June 2010) inside the Mars 500 capsule to simulate the effects of a Mars mission.

Their mission is to ‘fly to Mars’ in 250 days, ‘land on and explore Mars’ for a month and ‘return to Earth’ in 230 days, using their imitation interplanetary spacecraft, lander and martian surface. The hatch will remain closed until November 2011 and the crew must manage using the food and equipment stored in the facility. Only electricity, water and some air will be fed into the compartments from outside.


[ source ]