02/10/2012 10:23 am ET

Zero-G Coffee Cup Design From Astronaut Don Pettit's 'Saturday Morning Science' (VIDEO)

NASA astronaut Don Pettit will do anything for his morning coffee—even physics. Using a sheet of plastic from an overhead projector and a solid understanding of fluid dynamics, Pettit created a special cup that you can sip from in zero gravity without using a straw.

Liquids can cause a lot of damage aboard the International Space Station (ISS), so most astronauts had to get used to drinking through a straw from a little pouch. Pettit wouldn't stand for it. His innovation came from the design of rocket fuel tanks—if you need to be able to reignite fuel without gravity to help it along, one particular shape can make the liquid follow a narrow edge. Apply this shape—sort of like a cross-section of an airplane wing—on a smaller scale, and you have yourself a handy coffee cup.

This video isn't new, but it's one of the highlights from Pettit's video series Saturday Morning Science, in which he used his days off to perform microgravity demos for viewers of all ages. The series has recently been reincarnated as Science off the Sphere, a partnership between NASA and the American Physical Society, and you can watch the first video here.

As the ISS's resident "fun dad," Pettit has come up with all kinds of space shenanigans, from drinking tea with chopsticks to building gyroscopes with CD players.