Thursday, March 26, 2009

Misconception on space station 'no gravity' condition...



When our first cosmonaut blasted to space and stay in the famous space station, almost everybody backhome (including me) astonished and amazed by the experience and condition in space. Cosmonauts and their things just floating around, defying the gravity that nail us to the Earth.

Some people say, this is due to the no gravity effecting the space station and the occupants. I also believed this is the explanation, until someone ask me...  

"If there's no gravity, and the cosmonauts floating around... then why the spacestation does not float around also??''..... hmmmm.. there's logic in the question... 

So, as usual.. I  googled for the explanation...  
And I need to read the explanation a few times before my brain unfreeze and understood. 
Basically the space station is orbiting the Earth hundreds km above our head, and our Mother Earth gravity does have effect on it. Otherwise, it will just flown away out of orbit and into space.

The Earth gravity force pulling the body, keep the space station in orbit. 

Then why the cosmonauts and all the things inside floating around? If the gravity pulling the space station, the logic is, the force is also pulling the occupant. So why are they floating around??

The explanation is, since the space station always moving in circle, orbiting the Earth almost 16 times a day... the occupants may it be human, monkey or things will always be in constant free fall condition. They are constantly in state of free fall, not "no gravity". No gravity if you flown out into space..... what they experience is microgravity.... 

It's like being inside a lift... and the cable snapped and keep falling down, till terminal velocity.... everbody inside will experience weightlessness... 




2 comments:

Syed said...

I am wondering how James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock is not in a free fall when they are in the Enterprise......

GraFiQuE said...

Simple put: You are trying to fall down, yet, because the earth is round, it's avoiding your. Hence the free fall.