Hair Washing in Zero Gravity: A Magnificient Mohawk and the Water Goes Rogue

BY Jenny Marder  July 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM EDT

International Space Station crew member, U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg demonstrates how she washes her hair in space onboard the International Space Station.

If you thought brushing your teeth in zero gravity looked hard, try washing your hair.

U.S. astronaut Karen Nyberg gives us a firsthand tutorial from the orbiting International Space Station that features no-rinse shampoo, runaway water and a percussive track to capture the mood.

The real lynchpin to this endeavor seems to be the Velcro. Everything — the water, the shampoo, the comb, the soap — is attached by Velcro to the space station walls. You know, so they don’t fly off and go rogue.

The best part of the video is watching the various stages of Nyberg’s hair as it transforms throughout the washing process — from windswept to troll doll to magnificent mohawk.

(Remember troll dolls? Those crazy-haired, demonic little creatures that you never actually picked out at the toy store, but somehow forced their way into your childhood armory? Well it turns out they conduct spacewalks. And design thermal control systems.)

Here’s to hygiene in space.

As a sidenote, Nyberg — in the spirit of the great social media maven Chris Hadfield — has been posting some great material on her Twitter feed during her International Space Station mission. She discusses her spacewalks and “floating in to work.” And she’s posting lots of photos. See, for example, these forest fires in Quebec and this “spider’s nest” cloud over Corsica:



QUICK BITES

  • Cubelets: Small Robots Teach Big Science Lessons. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports for the National Science Foundation’s Science Nation:

  • From USA Today: “Data from the Hubble Space Telescope has helped determine that a planet orbiting a nearby star likely shares Earth’s deep-blue tones, but the similarities stop there, astronomers report.”

  • A new study links disposal sites for wastewater from hydraulic fracturing to “profound” increases in number of earthquakes at those sites. Bloomberg News reports.

  • In the latest Field Notes post from the simulated Mars mission HI-SEAS, the would-be crew takes on washing machines. Or more precisely, the lack of washing machines. Faced with weeks of wearing the same underwear (a common annoyance on the International Space Station), the crew tests a variety of anti-bacterial clothing with mixed results.

  • The White House recognizes 12 citizen scientists.

  • From Slate: Spider Webs Use Electric Charges to Trap Insects:

And don’t miss our latest science stories:

Patti Parson and David Pelcyger contributed to this report.

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