Questions tagged [microgravity]

Questions regarding the absence of significant gravitational force.

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17 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can plants grow in microgravity?

If a manned mission to another far-off planet were to take place, the crew probably would need something more sustainable than tubes for a food resource - plants would probably be the best option. ...
15 votes
4 answers
3k views

Was this printer shown the ISS in 2015 built specially to work in microgravity?

The question Printer on board of the ISS? was answered in the affirmative. This seems to be a printer with a special paper cassette on "top" to feed the paper, since gravity feed is not going to work. ...
6 votes
2 answers
488 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
238 views

Does swimming experience help to adapt to weightlessness?

In the story I currently write, I have a character who has been a passionate swimmer for decades. Now, she goes to space. I wonder how she would adapt to weightlessness, and would her swimming ...
2 votes
1 answer
183 views

On space stations, what do they do with small solid particles which are free floating?

I heard a claim that a piece of graphite, of half a millimeter size which broke from a pencil can kill a person who inhales it. Is this a major problem or an exaggeration? In a gravitational ...
8 votes
2 answers
803 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 ...
90 votes
3 answers
23k views

Could Apollo astronauts stand up if they fell on the moon?

I was watching old Apollo footage and noted how astronauts on the moon had a very particular gait most likely due to the poor flexibility of the EVA suits, low gravity, and need for safety. I was ...
36 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

“Parabolic”, suborbital and ballistic trajectories all follow elliptic paths. Is there a generic term for these trajectories?

There are three types of trajectories which produce microgravity but intersect with the surface of the earth: Reduced Gravity Flights in airplanes. These are sometimes called “parabolic” but are ...
9 votes
4 answers
10k views

Are magnetic boots in space practical?

I can't count how many science fictions stories I have read where someone is strapping on magnetic boots to walk in or on a space ship without gravity. How realistic of a solution is this? Just for ...
1 vote
3 answers
2k views

What do the terms milli-g and microgravity mean? How are they used?

I've seen the terms "milli-g" acceleration and microgravity in many questions and answers here, within the context of spaceflight. Does milli-g refer to accelerations between 0.001 $g_0$ and 1 $g_0$, ...
3 votes
1 answer
251 views

Would pole dancing cure microgravity health issues?

It is often suggested that gravity should be simulated by rotating the entire habitat module of astronauts in microgravity. But wouldn't pole dancing be enough? The individual astronaut swinging ...
12 votes
2 answers
417 views

Least artificial gravity needed to maintain health on a one year space trip?

What is the least gravity needed for human health on a one year space trip?
15 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
12 votes
7 answers
6k views

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....
20 votes
2 answers
3k views

How well would a broken bone heal in zero gravity?

We know that being in space has negative effects on bones. If you had a broken bone is space would it heal ok? Has there ever been a broken bone healed in space? Other then Spaceflight osteopenia ...
10 votes
3 answers
5k views

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 ...
49 votes
6 answers
11k views

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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
6k views

How do we create a zero gravity environment on Earth?

I have read somewhere that to-be astronauts are trained on Earth to be deft enough when they are in space which has zero gravity. How do we create a zero gravity situation on Earth? On Earth, even if ...
2 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can a human body change direction when floating in a space without gravity?

Suppose I am in the center of a hypothetical 4mx4m room and there is no gravity. I am wearing a spacesuit with no means of propulsion (e.g. venting, ejecting, etc..). Would I be able to reach "the ...
5 votes
4 answers
195 views

Could we launch a rubble pile simulant to LEO for astronauts to practice on before visiting natural milligravity objects?

There are proposals and maybe serious plans to send astronauts to asteroids or Mars' moons, objects which are a few kilometers or just a few meters in diameter. I call them "milligravity" objects ...
7 votes
4 answers
910 views

Isometrics in zero gravity

Related question... Why don't astronauts do isometrics or timed static contractions against immovable objects (like fixed bars at different heights) to sustain muscle mass and bone density in zero, ...
21 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
222 views

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 ...
11 votes
2 answers
618 views

Is there any research or recommendations for a diet in microgravity?

The Dietary Reference Intake (aka RDA) is formulated for humans operating at one Earth gravity. Is there a similar reference or any research supporting specific recommendations for a human in ...
13 votes
3 answers
743 views

How steady is the atmospheric drag force experienced by the ISS?

Suppose one wanted to modulate the power of a hypothetical, powerful ion thruster on the ISS to continuously compensate the atmospheric drag force in order to achieve near-perfect free-fall conditions ...
5 votes
2 answers
379 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? ...
7 votes
1 answer
309 views

How might artificial gravity experiments be conducted to determine adaptation in mice?

Astronauts in microgravity for extended periods experience a number of maladaptations, including bone loss, muscle atrophy and muscle mass loss, redistribution of fluids, and reduction in immune ...
12 votes
1 answer
384 views

Does atmospheric drag or reboosting maneouvers affect the integrity of microgravity experiments aboard ISS?

ISS is in low Earth orbit, and as such, its orbital progress is gradually slowed by atmospheric drag and consequently requires occasional reboosts. It also has to be occasionally maneouvered to avoid ...
6 votes
1 answer
370 views

Can you have a relaxing full body massage in zero G?

This question is a bit more complex then it sounds at first. On Earth when getting a massage you lay on a table and gravity and friction holds you in place while the therapist pushes, pulls and ...
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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
247 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
79 views

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
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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Could a harpoon-like gun be used by an astronaut to stop drifting away from a ship?

I saw the movie Gravity. Spoiler alert, hover with your mouse over the yellow bar below to reveal a part of the movie's plot: Why can't they have a gun kind-of thing with a string/rope? One end of ...
27 votes
3 answers
13k views

How do astronauts turn in space?

A recent question back in Physics asks whether there is a way for an astronaut to rotate when in microgravity and without touching anything else, while still conserving angular momentum. One way to ...
4 votes
1 answer
145 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
148 views

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 ...
17 votes
6 answers
4k views

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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
398 views

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-...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
14 votes
9 answers
3k views

Tiny emergency propulsive device if stuck floating in a large volume in microgravity

The questions here in SXSE Can you swim in space? and in Physics SE How to escape the center of a room without gravity? [closed] both address aspects of how to move if stuck floating in the center of ...
10 votes
1 answer
373 views

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 ...
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

3D modeling software for zero gravity

I think that many 3D modeling software packages like Blender and Rhino-3D assume the presence of gravity acting downwards. What would a person use to model a structure in microgravity (more ...
3 votes
1 answer
238 views

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 ...
12 votes
2 answers
961 views

How do people drink from cups in Space?

How do people drink from cups (an activity which heavily relies on the presence of gravity) in space? I know they could try to wait for the liquid to 'split up' and try to catch a chunk, but is there ...
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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
559 views

Generating power in zero-g

When generating electricity, energy is lost to friction in mechanical bearings (e.g. turbine or generator bearings) and as heat, through resistance in transmission wires. If you were generating ...