has spoken, and the space agency has a sweeping statement to make about the so-called broomstick challenge, this week's social media fascination. On Monday and Tuesday, social media users were sharing photos and videos of regular household brooms standing straight up with seemingly no support. The buzzy trend seems to have started with a viral tweet that claimed "NASA said today was the only day a broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull ... I didn't believe it at first but OMG!."
Okay so NASA said today was the only day a broom can stand up on its own because of the gravitational pull...I didn’t believe it at first but OMG! 😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/M0HCeemyGt— mk (@mikaiylaaaaa) February 10, 2020
Doesn't look like NASA ever said any such thing, and now the agency is cleaning up the issue. In a nine-second video tweeted out by NASA's official account on Tuesday, astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble balance a broom on its bristles with no fuss.
"Did you do the broomstick challenge yesterday?" Noble asks. "Well, it turns out, you can do it again today."
And Drew responds, "It's just physics."
🧹 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— NASA (@NASA) February 11, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/4TTbI3mvzd
Getting a broom to stand alone has nothing to do with the date on the calendar, in case you were sucked in by the original tweet. It's just a matter of fanning out the bristles like a tripod, and it can be done any day of the year if you're careful and willing to fuss around with your broom.
"Don't get too swept up in the broomstick challenge," the account for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex warned. "It's actually its low center of gravity that allows a broom to balance on its bristles today and any day."
Don't get too swept up in the #broomstickchallenge! 🧹 It's actually its low center of gravity that allows a broom to balance on its bristles today and any day. 🤗 pic.twitter.com/RRnxHZDz7b— Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (@ExploreSpaceKSC) February 11, 2020
Still, Twitter users got a kick out of NASA's tweet. "We're going to use 'It's just physics' as a mic drop from now on," the National Air and Space Museum tweeted.
We're going to use "It's just physics" as a mic drop from now on. 🎤— National Air and Space Museum (@airandspace) February 11, 2020
💯 pic.twitter.com/FEk6SZaNSA— NASA (@NASA) February 11, 2020
For a second I thought he said "It's just business."— Junior Space Ranger (@JuniorSpaceRan1) February 11, 2020
You wait until the #FlatEarth people hear about this!— Sir Grumblebelly III (@SirGrumbleBelly) February 11, 2020
Intern at NASA: "today is the only day your broom can sta..."— Randy Carmichael (@Carl_noWinslow) February 11, 2020
Supervisor: "I need you to log out and come with me please." pic.twitter.com/zG6vYRrtum
Still, science aside, Monday's broomstick challenge did produce some pretty impressive videos and photos. One Twitter user successfully balanced three brooms, a knife, and a crutch, all at once.
#broomchallenge— Giselle Medina (@Gisellemg_) February 11, 2020
Got the broom, a knife and a crutch standing 💪💪 pic.twitter.com/3Mp0rsfqtA
we had to go test it... pic.twitter.com/DNtkOlLRGd— Dyantá D. Harris (@dyantaatnaydh) February 10, 2020
Nasa ain’t got shit on me son 😂 #broomchallengepic.twitter.com/1rjw6Kr47c— Russ (@Rosson70) February 11, 2020
Even the NBC comedy Superstore, set in Cloud 9, a megastore that most certainly sells brooms, took it on. "Cloud 9 loves a challenge," the show's account tweeted.
Cloud 9 loves a challenge. #BroomstickChallengepic.twitter.com/Vr8pytAUTX— Superstore (@NBCSuperstore) February 11, 2020
And to Harry Potter fans, the broomstick challenge means something else entirely.
The original #broomstickchallengepic.twitter.com/q34sXx1Q1i— Professor Snape (@_Snape_) February 11, 2020
Some believe the broom-balancing myth is related to an stating that eggs can only balance on end twice a year, on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. But Monday wasn't either of those, which take place in March and September, so that doesn't exactly clean up the issue either.