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Wringing out a space station washcloth makes water clingy

A fascinating video from the International Space Station shows Earthlings what it's like to wring out a wet washcloth without gravity's help.

Hadfield with cloth
Where does the water go in space? Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Thanks to astronaut Chris Hadfield and a series of videos from the Canadian Space Agency, we've had incredible access to all aspects of life on the International Space Station. Activities that are so mundane here on Earth (like clipping nails and heating up some spinach) become things of wonder in zero gravity. That's why we're all going ga-ga over Hadfield wringing out a washcloth.

If I told you nearly 600,000 people would tune into YouTube to watch a piece of cloth get wrung out, you would probably laugh and tell me to take the day off. Fortunately, we're not all suffering from a mass delusion. Hadfield soaking up a washcloth with water and then wringing it out really is that cool.

He starts with a compressed puck of official NASA-issue washcloth. After shaking it out, he soaks it with drinking water squirted out from a flexible plastic bottle.

Once the cloth has absorbed all it can, we get the moment of truth. Tiny blobs of water float out free into the ISS, but most of it just gathers in a liquid tube around the cloth and Hadfield's fingers. Space! Science! Astronauts! It's the best kind of viral video hit.