How to achieve “weightlessness” on your desk

How can you achieve “weightlessness” without going into open space?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! This ex­per­i­ment in­volves the use of small mag­nets. Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.


  • thread;
  • dou­ble-sid­ed tape;
  • met­al pa­per clip;
  • neodymi­um mag­nets;
  • card­board box;
  • as­tro­naut draw­ing;
  • paint­brush;
  • blue paint.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Paint a box blue and let it dry. Op­tion­al­ly, you can dec­o­rate it with stars. At­tach a neodymi­um mag­net to the top of the box with dou­ble-sid­ed tape. Make an as­tro­naut: pass a thread through a pa­per clip, cut out a draw­ing of an as­tro­naut, and at­tach it to the pa­per clip along with a sec­ond neodymi­um mag­net. You’ll ul­ti­mate­ly achieve "weight­less­ness" by choos­ing the length of the thread: if the thread is too short, the as­tro­naut will fall. Fix the free end of the thread at the base of the box and re­lease your as­tro­naut! If you cut the thread, the as­tro­naut will be pulled to the mag­net.

Process de­scrip­tion

The strength of the in­ter­ac­tion of two mag­nets de­pends on the dis­tance be­tween them: the clos­er two mag­nets are to each oth­er, the greater the strength of their in­ter­ac­tion. When the mag­net­ic force act­ing on the “as­tro­naut's” mag­net be­comes greater than the force of grav­i­ty act­ing on the as­tro­naut and its mag­net, they will be sus­pend­ed in midair. The thread holds the as­tro­naut in place, pre­vent­ing it from be­ing pulled all the way to the mag­net at the top of the box.

You can get even more in­ter­est­ing ex­per­i­ments with a MEL Kids sub­scrip­tion!