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Released March 22, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- A professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Southern Mississippi consulted Monday with astronaut Dr. Michael Foale as he performed the professor's experiment aboard the International Space Station.

Southern Miss professor Dr. John Pojman was at the console in the telesciences center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at 5 a.m. to talk to Foale, who was about to perform an experiment designed by Pojman called Miscible Fluids in Microgravity (MFMG).

Foale, who wanted to consult with Pojman prior to performing the procedures, perrformed the experiment while Pojman watched in real time from Huntsville.

Pojman and the MFMG team were able to comment on the procedures as Foale performed them and to help him solve problems he encountered.

The experiment is the first of its kind in which the behavior of miscible fluids-- fluids that dissolve in each other--was studied in weightlessness to see if the fluids could sometimes act like immiscible fluids, such as oil and water.

Using only materials that already existed on the International Space Station, Pojman and the team in Huntsville developed an experiment using Russian honey and water with spare syringes and drinking straws.

"The experiment went very well today," Pojman said. "Watching my own experiment in real time from space was a dream come true and a tribute to the hard work of the MFMG team."

Pojman added, "We are beginning the analysis of the video to determine how well the computer simulations performed by Nick Bessonov and Vitaly Volpert of Université Lyon I captured the phenomena."

Further experiments will be performed this week, and an additional week of experiments will be performed later in the spring.

Pojman joined the Southern Miss faculty in 1990 and lives with his wife and son in New Orleans. For more information, contact Dr. Pojman at (504) 296-7224.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM