# Does grabbing a fidget spinner in zero G cause your body to tumble rapidly?

Techly have posted a video they attribute to NASA.

It shows ISS astronauts looking at a fidget spinner floating in space and grabbing it. After a jump-cut, they are shown tumbling (rotating along all sorts of axes, not necessarily the same as the original spinner.)

To me, it looks like a joke, but Techly are taking it seriously:

While most of the adult population on Earth still can’t comprehend why fidget spinners exist at all, astronauts on the International Space Station use them to demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion.

[...]

In the the video posted on Twitter over the weekend, the team of astronauts show the transfer of momentum from the fidget spinner to their bodies in a series of amusing tumbles – they also put the toy in a spin and left it floating in zero gravity.

When each astronaut holds the centre bearing, the energy from the spinner transfers to their mass and makes their bodies flip around the spinner.

This is a joke, right?

• I've seen the video, and it was clearly meant to be funny. As you say, they grab it and then jump cut to spinning in completely the wrong direction. Firstly, spinners don't have enough mass to impart that kind of momentum to an adult human. At best they'd start spinning slightly. They also grab it from the center -- the not spinning part -- rather than from a part that's actually in motion. It should keep spinning without affecting the astronaut. But this is all "Original Research", so I don't really know how to provide an answer to this. Oct 18 '17 at 23:53
• It's fake. Every time an astronaut grabs a spinner, the camera position instantly changes to show the astronaut spinning. In other words, they've stitched together different bits of video. Oct 18 '17 at 23:55
• @KevinFee: I am hoping that someone will find the original source, and that will indicate it is a joke, or Techly will add a correction, tail between their legs. Oct 19 '17 at 0:56
• @hthondt: Yes, that is what I was referring to by "jump cut". Oct 19 '17 at 0:57
• Also people. please please please don't attempt a physics answer. A spinner does twist a person, just not that fast. Example: youtube.com/watch?v=NDH3Uo99K2M (note that the energy needed to spin a person comes from their arms as they twist the wheel, so twisiting it hard enough can produce a fast spin) Oct 19 '17 at 10:42

## 1 Answer

No: or at least, not based on that video.

According to Space.com, the video depicts the astronauts performing somersaults while holding the spinner.

In the video, NASA flight engineer Mark Vande Hei (@Astro_Sabot) starts off the festivities with some slow circles, holding the spinner in his hand.

Then Vande Hei floats right beside some other crewmates who elect to spin superfast while holding the spinner. (It's possible that Vande Hei helped them spin up quickly, but that's not shown in the video.) NASA's Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) does quick rotations about his waist, NASA's Joseph Acaba (@AstroAcaba) does forward somersaults, and the European Space Agency's Paolo Nespoli (@Astro_Paolo) somersaults backwards.