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Mike's Spacesuit Diary Day 1 2 3

Day Two

I suspected it would be more difficult that I’d imagined. Although some of the zeolite settles out overnight, it’s so finely powdered that much of it stays suspended in the water. Separating the zeolite out this way won’t produce as much as I need. I'll have to find an alternative method.

Out here in California it gets pretty hot during the day. The temperature inside the workshop can top 38 degrees Celsius at times. We’ve thoughtfully been provided with a couple of large electric fans to keep us cool, and over an early lunch, I entertain the idea of converting one of them into a centrifuge. That would be a much more effective way of getting the undissolved zeolite to settle out from a ‘solution’ of the detergent. Because of the size of the fan, I’d only be able to process smallish quantities of detergent at a time, but at least I’d be able to get a much more efficient separation this way.

The problem, of course, is that I’m depriving colleagues of 50% of their cooling system for a while. I only need the fan for a few hours though – surely they won’t mind. As it turns out, no-one notices the fan has gone missing.

By early afternoon I’ve dismantled one of the fans, and knocked together a centrifuge of sorts. It’s taken a while to get the balance right, and I’ve soaked myself in the process, but at last I can get on with separating out the zeolite from the washing powder more efficiently now.

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Ellen gets the short straw
Scientists Diaries

How did the rest of the Rough Scientists approach the spacesuit task? Find out in their diaries: