ORLANDO, Fla. — SpaceX’s 18th run to the International Space Station, planned for Sunday, will be packed with dozens of critical experiments, science that will look to answer big-picture questions about nerve cells, healing and tissue regeneration.
Oh, yeah, and Nickelodeon slime is going to space, too.
The upcoming resupply mission by Elon Musk’s rocket company will feature a payload that truly runs the gamut. Apart from the slime and crucial science, it also includes 40 student experiments, another from Adidas on how soccer balls behave in space and one from Goodyear to study better ways of producing tires.
The full mission, on a Falcon 9 rocket, is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 40 at 6:35 p.m. Central Daylight Time Sunday and dock with the space station on July 23 for a month-long stay, carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo, including 250 science and research investigations.
Children’s network Nickelodeon is sending its iconic green slime — known for falling from buckets on contestants — to the space station for science demonstrations to teach elementary and middle school-aged students about the principles of how fluid flows in a microgravity environment as compared with normal gravity on Earth.
The videos will be shared online and on the network.
Adidas, meanwhile, will study the spinning behavior of a soccer ball in microgravity, data that will be used to help the sports company study aerodynamics in a way it can’t on Earth.
Soccer balls are tested using wind tunnel experiments, which introduce some physical constraints that limit what is known about how components of the ball interact with each other. With those constraints removed in space, the company can look to fill some of the gaps in what is known about spherical aerodynamics.
Goodyear will be looking at novel formations of silica, the key material used to produce tires, that form in microgravity. The company is hoping to find a new structure of silica that could produce more fuel-efficient tires that are easier on the environment.