Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Real Outer Space Vacuum

accept no substitutes !
  [vote for,

Build a box with a small airlock on both ends, and inside, a machine that assembles ping pong balls, operated by an external handcrank. Pay a space agency a few thou to take the box into orbit and fill it up with vacuum.

When you get the box back, start loading stacks of ping pong ball halves into the airlock on one side, taking care not to spill any of the vacuum, and commence cranking, which performs the airlock operations as well as sphere assembly..

Out the other end, one at a time, comes celluloid spheres, each full of certified outer space vacuum.


Vary the machinery for more upscale versions: keychains, paperweights, spaceship-in-a-bottle's, etc.

FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

Inspired by a recent annotation in Steam_20Shuttle
by [AbsintheWithoutLeave] [FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012]

prior art i Balls_20Of_20Nothing
[FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012]

prior art ii Space_20for_20sale
[FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012]


       Can a vacuous ping pong ball resist one atmosphere of pressure?
pertinax, Apr 01 2012

       Probably. Take one down 10 metres in water and see.   

       I think this idea is redundant (but without ping pong balls) (link).
spidermother, Apr 01 2012

       //resist one atmosphere of pressure?//   

       Certainly: the balls aren't normally pressurized and they don't fall apart when hit by a paddle at 120kph.   

       [math possibly forthcoming. [edit]: nah I'd have to know how bouncy a ping pong ball is; read spidermother's anno]
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

       Tennis balls certainly cannot contain a vacuum without collapsing, and they also get hit hard. But I think you are right; tennis balls rely on internal air pressure, whereas ping pong balls are small and rigid enough. They took them down pretty deep on Mythbusters, and I think they mostly didn't collapse.
spidermother, Apr 01 2012

       You could probably play table tennis with them.   

       //I think the idea is redundant//
I'm in good company with [infidel] and [2 fries shy of a happy meal] <links>, but this Idea is unique in that the number of saleable items is unlimited. The consumer-end container doesn't make the trip: it's filled with real-vacuum-from-outer-space on the ground.
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

       I am croissanting for the infinite supply of vacuum.   

       You are going to have to do some work to get the balls out of the vacuum chamber. (Somebody else can do the math.)
baconbrain, Apr 01 2012

       All that needs be done is evacuate the exit airlock, before the inner door is opened and the ball placed inside. The airlock is ping-pong ball shaped on the inside.   

       (math: about 25 Watt seconds or, very roughly, the amount of energy it takes to lift 14 pounds up 1 inch)
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

       For a small royalty, the spacegoing agency certifies the vacuum. Yes it's organic, from the only known source of organic vacuum.
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

       Coming soon: homeopathic vacuum.
spidermother, Apr 01 2012

       is it just me or did the organic vacuum annotation just disappear? I suspect the hand of Professor Moriarty...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 01 2012

       I accidentally deleted both yours and Ling's annotations thinking the delete button was "reply".   

       IIRC you wanted assurances of natural organic vacuum and Ling pointed out a pretty poem by [Infidel].
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012

       It's a little known fact that flyingtoaster is actually an anagram of Moriarty, if you don't use all the letters, and then add a few, like the m.   

       Anyway, I remembered seeing a mock advert for organic darkness in Punch magazine in 1975-ish and it kind of stuck on my mind...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 01 2012

       This is one of those products that, as soon as you use even a little of it, is gone. There was a science fiction story decades ago about the accidental creation of a wormhole on the earth's surface that then began to suck away the atmosphere. The solution was to drop a hemisphere on top of it--half of a giant ping pong ball. And as a bonus, they ran pipelines all over the country, selling the interstellar grade vacuum to laboratories. Of course this was nonsense, because as soon as anyone opened a tap, there would be no interstellar grade vacuum for anyone.
ldischler, Apr 01 2012

       Except with a system of non-return valves ... maybe a kind of packet routed or time-share vacuum, where each user gets PWM vacuum access.   

       I just had one of those 'Where else could you have a conversation like this? I love this place' moments.
spidermother, Apr 01 2012

       //it will displace some vacuum//   

ldischler, Apr 01 2012

       //IIRC you wanted assurances of natural organic vacuum and Ling pointed out a pretty poem by [Infidel]. — FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2012 //   

       Close, I was referring to another comment which has also been deleted.
Ling, Apr 01 2012

       //All that needs be done is evacuate the exit airlock,// Ah, I've found the flaw in your plan. When you evacuate the airlock, it will be filled with common artificially created terrestrial vacuum, which will mix with the genuine exclusive space vacuum when you open the internal door.   

       What you would need is some kind of intestine that could push the balls out. As long as there are more than 1 ball in the tube at a time, no precious vacuum will escape.
marklar, Apr 01 2012

       // The airlock is ping-pong ball shaped on the inside. //   

       There will be no room for Earth-created vacuum.
baconbrain, Apr 01 2012

       Could you not suck out all the earth vacuum before opening the interconnect?   

       I thought this idea was for a very long tube, one end to be glued to a geostationary satellite and the other end to be poked down behind the sofa. The vacuum at the satellite end would suck all the dust from behind the sofa and eject it into space.
pocmloc, Apr 01 2012

       This is far to complete an idea to // Profit.// Even if it was just for the Lulz.
WcW, Apr 01 2012

       I think you're missing the obvious. It would be easier and cheaper to get just one titanium ping-pong ball up into orbit, and compress some of that free-range real space vacuum inside it. Bring it down, then decant the vacuum into ping-pong balls on terra firm.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 03 2012

       ^hmm... perhaps an expandable container: it could be rather small( = cheap to orbit). Back on Earth it could be expanded within a(n Earth filled) vacuum chamber, and use [marklar]'s peristalsis idea to output the finished ping-pong balls/other.   

       That way, while a small amount of space-vacuum would leak into the artificial vacuum, the artificial vacuum wouldn't contaminate the good stuff.
FlyingToaster, Apr 03 2012

       How can I not bun this, a source of clean, sustainable nowt, in preference to the "dirty" vacuum peddled by Dyson, Hoover et al? [+]
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 03 2012

       //an expandable container//   

       Which illustrates the salient point here--that the problem is not the vacuum itself (for once you have a little of it, it can be endlessly expanded) the problem is getting it out of its container. The breakthrough invention would be the one-way vacuum valve, which allows nothing to pass, but stops everything else.
ldischler, Apr 03 2012

       Since a vacuum is an infinite resource, according to the laws of supply and demand ought it be zero cost?
Ling, Apr 03 2012

       Shipping and handling is indeed the bulk of the price, but we don't actually know it's an infinite resource do we. For instance, fresh water on Earth was considered "infinite" until the scientists got aholt of it and figured out that quite a bit is cycle-locked.

       A stack of half-sphere ping-pong balls should be able to be loaded without contamination through a cylindrical lock which on the inside is shaped like a stack of half-sphere ping-pong balls, ie: ( (   

       However, given an input of raw celluloid/other, half-spheres could be formed around a template, then joined, in vitro.
FlyingToaster, Apr 03 2012


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