NASA engineer uses blacklight to show how quickly germs spread
A former NASA engineer created a shocking video to show just how quickly germs spread using a special glow powder and a blacklight.
Mark Rober sprinkled a powder that can only be seen under a blacklight on to the hands of a school teacher and one of her students.
In the video, you see how quickly the Glo Germ powder spreads between pupils and round the entire classroom.
The 40-year-old said it usually takes him at least six months to plan a video, but this one was created in just two weeks. The aim is to show just how effective social distancing and hand washing can be in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Just like real germs, the Glo Germ powder transfers to things you touch, so it helps people see exactly how easily germs are spread.
The school teacher shook hands with three of her students at the beginning of class, and then went about the rest of the day without any of the kids knowing about the experiment.
At break time, Rober chose another random student and put Glo Germ on his hands as well. Two hours later, they checked the results and saw the room was covered with glow powder.
‘Because my flashlight can only illuminate one sport at a time, I used Photoshop to better visualize our observations of where germs were left behind, including on the other kids,’ Rober explained.
The photos showed powder on the sink, phone, storage boxes, paper towel holder, and wall.
It was also on the students’ faces and hands.
‘You can see how important it is to disinfect the things a sick person regularly touches,’ he said, after discovering that the desk of the ‘infected’ student was covered in powder.
He added that ‘germs can live on a hard surface like this for up to nine days.’
‘Even if you wash your hands really often, if you immediately pull out your phone, a lot of those germs just go right back on your hands.’
Mark also says that we all touch our faces a lot more than we realise, even when we try not to.
By the end of the day, the school teacher’s face was covered in powder, even though she had made a point of avoiding touching her own face.
The YouTuber tried the experiment himself with powder on his own hands. He was convinced his face would be clean, but the backlight showed lots of spots of powder on his face.
When he watched the footage of himself back, he realised he had scratched his chin absent-mindedly a few times. And that was all it took.
Mark says his video highlights why social distancing is the best way to avoid spreading germs, and adds that this pandemic will likely change many of our social practices.
‘If this experience makes people more socially aware of the right precautions to take when they get sick, that will save countless lives for years to come long after this coronavirus is old news.’
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