First came the ‘new flex challenge’, which involved standing up from lying face-down on the floor without using your hands or rolling onto your side (which was apparently a lot harder than it sounds). Now, just one month later, another challenge has been – erm – sweeping the internet: the ‘broom challenge’.
The challenge went viral after someone claimed NASA said February 10 was ‘the only day a broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull’. Disclaimer: this wasn’t true and NASA set the record straight pretty quickly.
As he does this, scientist Sarah Noble faces the camera, asking: ‘Did you do the broomstick challenge yesterday?’ She then pauses before stating: ‘Well, turns out you can do it again today.’ Drew adds: ‘It’s just physics.’
NASA captioned the video:
Astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble respond to the #BroomstickChallenge, showing that basic physics works every day of the year — not just February 10th
It all came about after a tweet went viral in which someone purported the broom challenge could only be completed successfully on February 10 – obviously leading to thousands of people attempting to get a broom to stand up by itself in their kitchens.
This tweet claimed NASA had quoted ‘gravitational pull’ as the reason why the challenge could only be done on that one specific day, but as we’ve just seen, it pulled that theory apart pretty quickly.
Not before people went about doing their own challenges, though:
While NASA didn’t specifically say why brooms are able to stand up by themselves in this way, CNN did provide a pretty in-depth explanation as to why the seemingly magical phenomenon occurs.
According to the news publication, ‘it has nothing to do with the Earth’s gravitational pull on a certain day. It also has nothing to do with the vernal equinox (another day of the year when this ‘magic’ supposedly happens)’.
The explanation continued:
Instead, it has everything to do with balance. The centre of gravity is low on a broom, and rests directly over the bristles. Which means, if you can get the bristles positioned like a tripod, your broom will stand upright any day of the year.
Well, there you have it. Who knew NASA had the time to take a break from all the science stuff and get involved with viral challenges?