Thursday, July 17, 2008

The G word.

CR was conversing with one of his contem-poraries and of course the topic of space travel came up.  R2's experiences involve ships with artificial gravity.  CR's relatives don't have that luxury at the moment.  So we all were chatting about this (gravity) and realized that there was a common misconception surrounding the issue.  It is my belief that the majority of people believe that astronauts experience zero gravity/weightlessness.  This is in actuality untrue.  Stop me if you know this or have heard me ranting about it before.  In the interest of brevity we'll only spend a few moments on this subject.  Astronauts experience simulated weightlessness.  This can be achieved inside the atmosphere in an aircraft such as the C-131 (the vomit comet) and the same physics apply to the astronauts.  The difference is the atmosphere as opposed to the virtually friction free flight in space.  Here is what really happens... The spaceship (Shuttle, what have you) is never outside of gravity's hold.  If this were so, the ship would float (speed) away and never be seen again.  The ship is experiencing a continuous fall as it orbits the earth.  As it falls the horizon falls with it.  The distance between the ship and the earth remains for the most part the same.  Can you picture that?  The ship is following a parabolic flight path that doesn't end.  Now, a true scientist could explain this better than I can I'm sure.  Truth is, there is (theoretically) no place in the Universe that you can go and be free of gravity.  It's the Force baby, it's what binds us with our galaxy and our galaxy with the rest of the Universe.  Very cool stuff.  Please correct me if I've misspoken.  : )  One last note... CR would like to say hello to his friends in New York.  Science my friends, science.

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