Astronaut in a Bottle

Bring microgravity into your classroom with some simple materials
About Astronaut in a Bottle

Getting Started

It’s common misperception that everything is floating on the International Space Station because there’s no gravity. This is a myth! Astronauts float on the ISS because they are falling around the Earth at the same rate as the ISS, and this is what causes the state of microgravity.

Using simple materials, you can observe microgravity and demonstrate it to your students.

Astronaut in a Bottle Activity

Create microgravity in your classroom using some simple materials


  • 2-liter clear plastic bottle
  • Colored tape or marker
  • Paper astronaut
  • Cardboard or card stock
  • Hole punch or sharp scissors
  • String
  • Cameraphone to film in slow motion (if desired)

Key Concepts

  • Free Fall
  • Microgravity


  • Cut out a piece of cardboard or card stock in the same size as the paper astronaut
  • Glue the paper astronaut to the cardboard or card stock
  • Create a thick stripe on the bottle with tape or the marker
  • Punch or cut a hole in the paper astronaut
  • Attach the string to the cardboard astronaut
  • Hold the string in the neck of bottle with a finger so the astronaut is even with the line
  • First, release just the string and hold the bottle
  • Observe the astronaut falling to the bottom of the bottle
  • Then, reset and release the string and bottle together
  • Observe astronaut falling with the bottle during the drop – have a student or friend film this to see the concept in slow motion!

Learn more about microgravity and find more activities in this presentation from NASA.

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