Questions tagged [microgravity]

Questions regarding the absence of significant gravitational force.

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Why do people experience weightlessness on the way up in parabolic flight?

To experience "weightlessness" without actually traveling into space, and orbiting the earth, a parabolic flight is used. See the flight path of Mercury, as shown in this link: https://en....
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10 votes
3 answers
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When staying indoors, can missing gravity be replaced with blowing air?

As I was watching Ad Astra (Great movie, but where does the gravity come from?), I had the idea that in a building or closed vehicle in a low gravity location, maybe air pressure could be used to ...
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21 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why is dust such a problem in microgravity? Wouldn't proper air circulation and filtration take care of it?

Dust and small particles in microgravity environments are generally regarded as bad, and items prone to generating these tend to be discouraged: Bread should be prepared quite differently, so that it ...
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5 votes
2 answers
303 views

Why can't a regular hammer be used in micro-gravity?

A comment under this question states that "A good smack of a hammer" - is not a simple thing in zero gravity. You need a special hammer with absorption of inertia. Why is this the case? ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Does extended microgravity increase the rate of kidney stones in astronauts? Do these lead to medical complains/discomfort while still in space?

This answer to What are the main impacts on the body of an astronaut exposed to long term zero gravity? mentions that the increase in bone loss due to extended periods of time in microgravity can not ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Virgin Galatic's Weightlessness [duplicate]

Is the gravity pull of the Earth negligible at 50 miles up, or is the weightlessness experience just relative to a falling airframe? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced-gravity_aircraft
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8 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is there a change in altitude when "falling around earth"?

This just blew me away: What Is Microgravity? The page says the reason astronauts (in the International Space Station, ISS) experience microgravity is not because they're in "space" but ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What are, and what has been learned from making plasma crystals in space? Is a tl;dr-like answer possible?

The two articles below describe a set of plasma crystal experiments scheduled for 2019 aboard the ISS in cooperation with German and Russian scientists on the ground. These were not the first but ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What will 10X Genomics want to test on the upcoming Axiom Space AX-2 mission?

CNN's Former NASA Astronaut Plans Private Trip Back to Space begins Record-holding NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson1 has spent more time in outer space than almost any other human on the planet, but even ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What benefits or new activities could take specific advantage of variable and/or low but not microgravity environment?

Just curious really. Considering that at some point in the future there might be rotational-based habitats, this would mean there would be easy access to variable gravity and/or low gravity ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Can we compare high microgravity to low microgravity? Can we say "what it's like to be in a significant amount of microgravity"?

In this answer to What do ISS astronauts do while the ISS gets reboosted? I wrote They strap everything down first, then make videos about what it's like to be in a significant amount of microgravity ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Using a fidget spinner to rotate in outer space

There is a question How do astronauts turn in space?, and related questions here and on physics.stackexchange, that detail how astronauts might maneuver by spinning their upper and lower body ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Are there active proposals for the next large space station (post-ISS) to use artificial gravity?

The ISS has supported a crewed presence in space for twenty years now and while parts have been added over time, key original components are 20+ years old. Crewed presence is usually limited to a half-...
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11 votes
1 answer
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How did ESA blast an atomic force microscope off the Earth, deploy it in deep space, capture tiny particles from a comet and position them 'under' it?

Answers to Is there, or has there ever been anything remotely like an electron microscope in space? show that there has indeed been one (as do answer(s) to Microscopes in space?), but mostly electron ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What would be the required equipment for an astronaut to dig to the centre of Bennu?

Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona The image above is part of a close-up acquired by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft of Bennu's surface. 101955 Bennu is a carbonaceous asteroid that is currently ...
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17 votes
6 answers
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Would a higher air pressure on the ISS or elsewhere make it easier to "swim" in microgravity?

What if the atmospheric pressure onboard the ISS was 5 atm, 5 times the pressure on Earth and currently on the ISS, while maintaining the breathable oxygen level, e.g. if the additional atmosphere ...
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3 votes
2 answers
204 views

Is there any record of a fountain pen having been used in microgravity?

It's a known fact that a wide variety of both generic and specially-engineered writing implements are currently used in space, by both the Russians and the US. But is there any known instance of a ...
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0 votes
2 answers
101 views

Are the SpaceShipTwo pilots weightless when the craft separates from the WhiteKnightTwo?

From my point of view, when the SpaceShipOne and Two get released from their carrier planes (WhiteKnight and WhiteKnightTwo) they are in free fall, therefore the pilots should become weightless inside ...
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37 votes
4 answers
8k views

Can't astronauts use ball point pens in space?

Is it true that astronauts can't use ballpoint pens in space? The mechanical contact of a ballpoint with the paper should make the ink show up on paper but I'm not sure if it's true. Any clarification ...
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why might an astronaut wear their wristwatch very loosely aboard the ISS?

In this video of CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the ISS, he wears his watch very loosely--so that it continually bumps against different sides of his arm. I imagine this might be mildly ...
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14 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is the context of this seemingly "zero-gravity" photo on Earth?

A man appears to be in zero gravity in a room which doesn't look like it could possibly be inside of an aircraft. If so, that's one gigantic aircraft, entirely unlike all the other photos of the "...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What is it like for ISS astronauts to re-adjust to the Earth's gravity?

ISS expeditions last up to half a year, as long as a flight to or from Mars would last. Here I answered to a question dealing with the adaptation of Martian visitors from microgravity to Martian 0.38 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
36 views

How can normal sports be modified for playing in micro-gravity conditions? [closed]

What new equipment would we use to play sports such as football, basket ball, etc., in micro-gravity? What changes would we make to the games above? Also, are there any scholarly articles or proper ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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How much gravity could someone handle who lived his/her entire life in microgravity? [closed]

Let's say someone who was conceived and born in microgravity and spent his/her entire life on a space station in weightlessness until age 20 decides to land on a celestial body. How much surface ...
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2 votes
7 answers
859 views

What does it take for a craft to perform a flight simulating weightlessness without having to fly a steep parabola/ellipse?

Alright, I'll try to ask a better question on what I mean so that we figure out how one becomes weightless in a craft without having to fly steep parabolae. Other than flying parabolae or nose-down ...
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24 votes
4 answers
6k views

Is there a self-rounding celestial body from which an Olympian could jump into space?

Is there a self-rounding object in our solar system whose mass is insufficient to prevent the highest jumping human from escaping its gravity?
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3 votes
1 answer
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What is the most massive object in the ISS whose position was altered by the circulating air?

In Leo S's comment to the question, Do astronauts develop the ability to regularly place an object at rest inside the ISS after extended periods in microgravity?, he said "forces due to circulation of ...
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11 votes
2 answers
906 views

How big are the tidal accelerations within the ISS?

This question asks about placing an object at rest in the International Space Station. But the ISS is a large object, large enough that gravity will vary across it and cause tidal forces that can ...
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6 votes
1 answer
511 views

Do astronauts develop the ability to regularly place an object at rest inside the ISS after extended periods in microgravity?

This image from the ESA prompted the question why the fruits at the bottom left were not floating. An online response claimed after an extended time on the ISS astronauts get used to placing ...
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1 vote
1 answer
320 views

Can an astronaut stand at attention in the ISS?

Am I correct in assuming it is near impossible for astronauts to stand still inside the ISS, even if their feet are secured under a blue IVA rail? NASA astronauts Terry Virts' foot under a blue IVA ...
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5 votes
2 answers
133 views

Do astronauts on the ISS refer to themselves as standing?

When on the CEVIS,(Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation Stabilization) I'm assuming the astronauts would say they are sitting. When they secure their feet under a blue IVA rail do they say they ...
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13 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why did a shuttle astronaut have an open book during ascent?

In the top right of the video of a shuttle launch an astronaut has an open book resting on (attached to?) the left thigh. What was the purpose of this book? The astronaut then seems to take a pen or ...
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0 votes
1 answer
114 views

How does water respond in 0g?

I'm imagining a small orb magnetically suspended inside a sphere of any paryicular size floating in 0g. What would happen if you rotated the orb at a high/varied velocity? And what if you change the ...
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48 votes
6 answers
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Can/should you swim in zero G?

Inspired by Are there types of animals that can't make the trip to space? (physiologically) and related to but not a duplicate of Can you swim in space? Swimming on the Moon / in low gravity looks ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Term used to identify the blue bars/rails in the ISS?

The interior of the ISS is filled with blue bars used by astronauts to secure their feet and remain in one place. Does NASA have a term for these?
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5 votes
1 answer
335 views

Do astronauts use their toes to grip with in zero gravity?

Feet and toes are not usually as dexterous as hands and fingers but they can grip and hold things. With training and practice they can be like third and fourth hands. Are there any astronauts who make ...
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3 votes
0 answers
159 views

Aerosol products in space

I am assuming aerosol products are not used inside the living environment of a spacecraft while it is microgravity. Is that correct, or are there examples of such products being used while an ...
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15 votes
4 answers
4k views

How is lower/no gravity simulated on a planet with gravity, without leaving the surface?

I have seen videos of simulated lower gravity (possibly for training astronauts). I am curious what methods/techniques can be used to simulate lower gravity like environments without leaving the ...
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4 votes
0 answers
55 views

What is the name of the animal vaccine created in space? (according to Robert Zubrin)

I'm reading "The Case for Space" and on pg 47 of the book, Zubrin mentions that some sort of animal vaccine was created thanks to research done in microgravity and in space. He goes on to say that ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Microgravity indicators

As mentioned in the YouTube clip below and in the image, in the Soyuz craft hangs small toys or dolls as microgravity indicators. Is this really the purpose of the dolls being hung? Are people not ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

How will SpaceX's Starship accommodate its 100 passengers from the effects of micro-gravity?

According to this Wikipedia article, Starship will take on average 115 days (3.8 months) to get to Mars and 150 days maximum (4.9 months). with an average trip time to Mars of approximately 115 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
592 views

How do astronauts get eye drops into their eyes?

This answer mentions that some astronauts use eye drops to relieve irritation caused by dust and lint in the air. How do they do get the drops in their eyes in microgravity? When I put drops in my ...
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5 votes
1 answer
176 views

Does NASA no longer own a "Vomit Comet?"

This Wikipedia article seems to suggest that NASA no longer owns an aircraft capable of simulating weightlessness, and that such astronaut training is now contracted from a private company. Can this ...
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4 votes
3 answers
242 views

What are the biological effects of a toe-to-head force gradient upon a human over the long term?

This question pertains to the notion of constructing rotating spacecraft and habs for human use in space in order to mitigate the effects of microgravity. Such craft have been a staple of many sci-fi ...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Healing of bruises and internal bleeding in 0g

I heard an unsourced claim about wounds, bruises and internal bleeding healing much worse in 0g conditions than in normal gravity. Is it true? And if so - could you provide a quantitative comparison, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
719 views

Have mechanical wrist watches been successfully used in space?

Has a mechanical wrist watch been successfully used in spaceflight? Have there been any problems using them that are related to the many unusual aspects of the spaceflight environment, perhaps ...
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1 vote
0 answers
157 views

Is there a term for the activity of weightless astronauts hanging out on walls or ceilings?

Weightless astronauts often sit, stand, walk, or sleep on (or near) surfaces that (with gravity) we would normally call walls or ceilings. I reference such a phenomenon in my comment here: I would ...
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7 votes
2 answers
244 views

How do astronauts maintain their neck muscles?

The human head weighs 5kg. This weight keeps the neck toned and strong. In zero gravity on extended missions how do astronauts maintain muscle and bone strength in their necks? What type of neck ...
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  • 291
1 vote
1 answer
312 views

ISS location identification; estimate size and direction of astronaut acceleration puzzler

note: This question addresses the same video and phenomenon described in this answer (which I found after posting this) but here I'm asking for an analysis of the trajectories of the test masses (the ...
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  • 148k
5 votes
0 answers
175 views

"Prolonged exposure to microgravity ... makes facial hair flammable"?

TheWeek recently published an article titled "The Colonization of Space", which contained the following sentence (emphasis added): Prolonged exposure to microgravity weakens bones, atrophies ...
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