Charles Screawn of ReAgent Technical Sales explains, “Josh called us out of the blue one afternoon asking about freezing points and viscosity of various chemicals. He explained that he was hoping to launch a balloon attached to a canvas, tubes and paints which would be released at a certain time to produce a work of art. He needed to know if we could create coloured solutions which would not freeze in the cold atmosphere of Space.”
Technicians at ReAgent spent the next 6 months investigating the composition, viscosity and freezing temperatures of the various solutions for the project named JoshingTalk Space Art (JTSA). It had been agreed that the colours chosen would represent the view of Earth from Space with blue representing water, green for land, brown for desert and yellow for the Sun. Eventually, it was decided that an approximate freezing point of minus 45 degrees Centigrade would bring about optimum results.
However, getting the viscosity of the solutions right proved a more challenging matter. This was a very important consideration as it was essential to be able to control the drip rate of colour; the solutions had to be released in a controlled way in order to produce a work of art as opposed a big ‘blob’ of colour. Josh was looking for something that had a ‘jam-like’
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to alter the viscosity of the solutions Charles had a brainwave – alter the size of the tubes. He explains, “It suddenly occurred to me that another way we could control the volume of liquid being released at any one time would be to alter the diameter of the tubes, so that we would only get a limited amount of solution onto the canvas.”
After further trial and error, both viscosity and freezing temperatures were calculated and the solutions were manufactured accordingly. The Space balloon, canvas, tubes and paints, together with filming equipment were released into space on 11 August 2012 and the astonishing results can be seen on Josh’s website.
ReAgent Managing Director Richard Hudson continues, “It was obviously a huge relief to Josh and his team and to everyone at ReAgent that the JTSA project was such as success. As a company we pride ourselves on the excellent service we offer to all customers although this was certainly one of our more unusual and intriguing requests. Our technical team enjoyed working with Josh and we wish him the very best of luck with his next endeavour.”
Josh’s latest venture is a challenge set for him by Sir Richard Branson, of the Virgin Group, to see how far under the sea he can explore.
“We’re here if you need us, Josh,” adds Richard Hudson.