Ever wondered what would happen if a marshmallow Peep was exposed to the cold, uncaring, probably Easter-hating vacuum of space? Of course you have.
Slate brings us this landmark moment in science straight from Texas A&M's Physics and Engineering Festival. Experimenter Phil Plait noted that Peeps—with their puffy little bodies, dead eyes, and very nearly negative nutritional value—wouldn't make the best astronaut food, but they'd probably be super fun to just, you know, fling into space. So he replicated the effect here on good ol' terra firma. Watch and be enlightened.
Now allow Plait to drop some science on you:
"In the demo the Peep is placed on a rubbery surface, the glass bell jar is put over it, and the air pumped out. Air expands to fill whatever volume it is in, pushing on the walls of its container until the pressure is balanced. When the air outside the Peep is removed, the air in the little spongy holes expands to replace it. Because the Peep is soft, the material around the holes gets pushed by the air and expands as well, inflating the Peep overall. The tension in the material itself provides a force that keeps the air from expanding into the jar, so at some point the expansion stops when the forces balance."
"However, that material is made of sugar molecules all stuck together in a crystalline state. When the Peep expands, the crystal structure is partially broken, and it stays expanded only because the air pressure inside the bubbles is holding it up, balanced by the tension in the sugar. Once the air is let back into the bell jar the air inside the bubbles contracts again, and the material collapses. That part made me laugh even more than the expansion."
Much funnier than what would happen to a person, which... yikes. Let's just say it'd be even worse than that one scene from Event Horizon (warning: probably NSFW). Now I just want to see Event Horizon, only with the entire cast replaced by Peeps. Make it happen, Hollywood.