Can you play Yo-Yo in space?

The short answer is: Yes!

If you've ever spent time practicing Yo-Yo, you probably know that things are much harder than we thought. This can be considered a rather quirky and unusual entertainment, because to master it, you have to grasp a few basic physical principles. Professional Yo-Yo "players" will obviously want to show their skills everywhere - while on the road, at parties (it seems a bit overkill), or even . outside space.

In an era where even Tesla cars can be sent to Mars, a lot of people will be curious as to how normal things on Earth will happen in space. And it's only a matter of time before anyone starts to wonder if we can toss Yo-Yo in a spaceship? Is playing Yo-Yo in space feasible?

What is Yo-Yo, and how does it work?

Picture 1 of Can you play Yo-Yo in space?
Yo-Yo is basically a string attached to a pair of disks through a small hole right in the middle of them.

Most of us have played Yo-Yo a few times in our lives, but if you're one of the few who haven't tried it yet, Yo-Yo is basically a string attached to a pair of discs through a small hole right away. in the middle of them, allowing Yo-Yo to rotate, retract and unfold. Yo-Yo's body will scroll up and down the length of the rope due to its weight, inertia, rotation speed, and friction forces.

Yo-Yo is considered to be one of the oldest toys in the world, probably only behind dolls; and while modern Yo-Yo is made up of many different materials, with slightly different functions, its basic components have remained unchanged throughout the centuries. In the past, the string was attached to Yo-Yo's body, so the toy could go up and down the length of the string. Newer Yo-Yo types have a coil that coils around the core, allowing it to rotate freely at the lowest point of the first fall - a common starting point for known advanced Yo-Yo techniques. came with the name "sleeping".

Before going into the physical principles surrounding playing Yo-Yo in space, let's talk about the basic physical principles when playing this toy on Earth. No matter what type of Yo-Yo, users will have to wind around a shaft, then stick a finger at the end of the string to start playing. When Yo-Yo is in the player's hand, it has a certain amount of potential energy, concentrated in the center of Yo-Yo. This potential energy is derived from the height of Yo-Yo above the ground and because it has a rope around the shaft. These two types of potential energy are the ones that allow Yo-Yo to fall or spin.

When you release Yo-Yo, latent energy will turn into kinetic energy. The falling Yo-Yo creates linear momentum, while the Yo-Yo inflating process creates angular momentum / spin momentum. At the end of the string, the linear momentum will stop, but the angular momentum remains and allows Yo-Yo to continue to rotate. On the old Yo-Yo models, the angular momentum will cause Yo-Yo to start moving upwards along the rope, because the rope around the shaft is tied quite tightly. Players can jerk slightly to compensate for the energy lost due to friction, helping to bring Yo-Yo back to their hands.

On new-style Yo-Yo with a wire loop around the shaft instead of a knot, Yo-Yo can continue to rotate quickly (and for a long time) at the end of the string thanks to the angular momentum. This so-called "sleeping" act is used by Yo-Yo masters in simple and complex techniques. With a simple jerk, the string can be rolled around the shaft and Yo-Yo will "climb" back to the player's hand with all the remaining energy stored inside it. Because of the impact of friction on Yo-Yo during the return process, as well as its resistance to gravity, Yo-Yo will not return to the player's hand position unless the player jerkes the string slightly. This action will give Yo-Yo a little more kinetic energy to return to the palm of its owner.

Picture 2 of Can you play Yo-Yo in space?
Astronaut is playing Yo-Yo in space.

Yo-Yo in space

Now, back to the original question: can Yo-Yo be played in space?

When an astronaut is on the ISS station, which has orbit around the Earth, they will fall into zero gravity. This situation makes astronauts and space stations always in a state of free fall. Gravity continuously pulls the space station to the ground, as ISS also constantly moves at more than 17,000 miles per hour. Therefore, both the station and astronauts continue to fall freely around the planet but never dragged down to the planet's surface.

Because gravity is now the only force acting on them, astronauts cannot feel the normal force that the ground exerts on their feet - which is what gives us a sense of weight.

For Yo-Yo, although gravity is present in space, it will no longer be able to help you move Yo-Yo (when you release Yo-Yo from your hand on Earth, it often bursts towards the ground). ). To release Yo-Yo, you'll need to throw it away and then stretch the string to make it spin. The force will not hold the string as tension as it is on the ground, so the rope will be tangled, or Yo-Yo stop rotating.Yo-Yo's angular momentum still exists in space, which is why Yo-Yo will still rotate. When you want to take Yo-Yo back to your hand, you have to adjust the rope in the direction Yo-Yo is moving, then yank the rope backwards. Playing Yo-Yo will not be as simple as walking in the park, but it is possible.


The video above shows that playing Yo-Yo in space is no longer just a three-dimensional game, and it is a little more difficult to predict, but it's possible - as long as you have plenty of time. , there's a free-spinning Yo-Yo, and there's a . spaceship.

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