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Hawking to Take Zero Gravity Ride

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i'm-the-mighty-stephen-hawking dept.

Space 127

An anonymous reader writes "Well-known cosmologist Stephen Hawking is preparing for a once-in a lifetime trip. His goals are for even higher ground, but right now he's readying for an April zero gravity ride aboard NASA's 'vomit comet'. His ultimate goal is to take a ride on one of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic flights, and this is a 'test run' for that more rigorous experience. Though complex math ain't no thing for Dr. Hawking, his interests here are purely inspirational. 'Hawking says he wants to encourage public interest in spaceflight, which he believes is critical to the future of humanity. "I also want to show," he said in an e-mail interview, "that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit."'"

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127 comments

fp (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220568)

only problem is the vomit comit doesn't have a handicapped accessable bathroom

Re:fp (0, Troll)

chaney (526944) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220616)

Oh shit! I would give a million dollars to watch that man bounce around the inside of a vomit comet like a pin ball!

you don't understand: (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222148)

you're a nobody. that means you're going to have to follow the rules all your life.

sorry! :)

Re:you don't understand: (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224232)

Am I wrong in assuming that he can't feel anything across most of his body? Isn't that going to impact his ability to experience zero gravity? We all become aware of weight and what it means by supporting our body weight or other objects. Since he can not support his own weight, or lift other objects can he really understand what what weight is?

At first it was kind of silly, but now that I'm thinking about it it pretty deep...

Re:fp (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220752)

only problem is the vomit comit doesn't have a handicapped accessable bathroom

Use the Poop Deck if you don't mind the cold air.
     

That doesn't matter... (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224114)

only problem is the vomit comit doesn't have a handicapped accessable bathroom

I'm sure NASA will issue him an adequate supply of their now-famous adult diapers.

Does this mean its open to everyone? (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220596)

Does this mean that anyone can get to go for a ride?
I was under the impression you had to have a certain level of fitness and stamina.

I also cannot get the thought of the south park kid shouting "Timmmeh!" whilst riding the shuttle.

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (0, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220620)

Who could say know to one of the world's foremost physicists?

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221580)

Grammar ewe do not no. Eye here that we lowered standards hare in America and ewe are the result.

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220626)

Easy, he watched GATACCA and found a way to hack the sytem.

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220700)

Security Guard: So you're really Ronald P. Heatherstone.

Hawking: zzzzzzzzzzgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh Y....E....S

Security Guard: You're absolutely positive here?

Hawking: zzzzzzzzzzgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh Y....E....S

Security Guard: Say's here Ronald P. Heatherstone is a top rated fighter pilot, stands 6 ft 3, weights 220 pounds and can bench press a Toyota. You're absolute sure this is you?

Hawking: zzzzzzzzzzgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh Y....E....S

Security: Right then, off with you.

Hawking: zzzzzzzzzzgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh S....U....C....K....E....R

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220726)

I was under the impression you had to have a certain level of fitness and stamina.

Maybe they figure he has nothing to lose. As long as his head is protected, so what if he breaks his spine or loses a limb: he can't use them anyhow.
     

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (2, Informative)

RockyPersaud (937868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220866)

The posting is incorrect, but the article is correct. It's not NASA's Vomit Comet (KC-135), but the Zero Gravity Corporation's G-Force One.

And yes, it's open to everyone who mets their basic health requirements and is at least 15 years old. Whether Hawking meets the requirements I'd like to know (ie. are they making an exception?)

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220920)

From a total health perspective people with very limited mobility could benefit from living in a zero g environment.
Up there, we are essentially equal.

Its just the travelling which would be a problem.

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222232)

Hopefully Steve-O gets the chance to have a ride on the Virgin Galactic flights. Maybe he'll have an idea (*cough*unifiedtheory*cough*)that changes the world on his zero-g ride :)

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18222194)

> Does this mean that anyone can get to go for a ride?
> I was under the impression you had to have a certain level of fitness and stamina.

No, you need only a certain level of wealth and fame.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18223204)

""I also want to show," he said in an e-mail interview, "that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit."'"

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18223318)

These guys [gozerog.com] will let you experience zero G for a couple grand last I checked. I don't exactly remember what their fitness requirements are, but I believe it's fairly light.

Re:Does this mean its open to everyone? (1)

motorbikematt (825008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224564)

No. It's not open to everyone. There are FAA restrictions on the ability for an individual to follow safety instructions during these special flights. However, if you have adequate professional assistance, the safety requirements can be met.

Helen Keller to join him for the flight down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220604)

Okay sorry, couldn't resist!

Rumor is.... (3, Informative)

drfrog (145882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220608)

He's getting ready for his new album and is shooting video on these flights

http://www.mchawking.com/ [mchawking.com]

is Hawking a real physicist? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220614)

...If he is, why would he be using the term "zero gee"? The submitter, I can understand...

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220744)

is Hawking a real physicist? ...If he is, why would he be using the term "zero gee"? The submitter, I can understand...


I would guess he is using the term "zero gee" so those who are not aware of his status as a physicist, or physics in general get the basic meaning. Not to say that you don't know that is is a real physicist or anything. I mean, holding the same office as that Newton guy probably does not mean much. ;)

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (2)

BlackEmperor (213615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220968)

I mean, holding the same office as that Newton guy probably does not mean much. ;)

Some people think he's not that great as can be seen in the video The Hawking Paradox [google.ca] .

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (2, Insightful)

novafire (263854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18223540)

No scientist with or without Hawking's celebrity status is without fault. Regardless of how many thumbs up or thumbs down his various works have gotten, I think he has at the very least helped publicize science in the eyes of the common man. In a world where creationism and religious fundamentalism can try to squash science and somehow often succeeds, we as a race need books such as A Brief History of Time to at the very least get people interested in science and start asking questions. Questioning everything and anything is probably the most profound act we can do and its great that people don't agree with his theories. Is he deserving of his status? Maybe, maybe not, but I would take him over any religious nut any day of the week.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (3, Insightful)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18223906)

Some people think he's not that great as can be seen in the video The Hawking Paradox [google.ca] .
For a scientist, being proven wrong is no big deal and often just as important as being right. It's just another factor in his/ her continuing work. Being wrong does not make you a bad scientist. Einstein's 'Cosmological Constant' anyone?

Hawking has been wrong numerous times (it usually costs him a case of wine). Quite often he actually prove *himself* wrong.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220780)

Probably our dear reporter Dennis Overbye from The New York Times wanted his writing to sound formal and wrongly thought that "g" was slang for "gravity".

No difference (1)

alphabetsoup (953829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220806)

There is no difference between zero gravity and free fall in a gravitational field. None whatsoever. That is, there is no experiment which will be able to distinguish between these to different cases. So, yes, the term "zero g" is perfectly valid.

Re:No difference (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220902)

I'm no physics expert, but won't there always be tidal forces that you could use to differentiate those cases - even ignoring the various observations you could make to see acceleration due to gravity?

Einstein's Equivalence Principle (2, Informative)

alphabetsoup (953829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221150)

No. There is absolutely no difference between free fall in a gravitational field and absence of a gravitational field. This is the famous Equivalence Principle of General Relativitiy. This link gives more detail: http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/gener al_relativity.html [virginia.edu]

So there exists no difference at all between free fall and zero gravity. As for your second point, no experiment can distinguish between the two cases. So no observation can differentiate between the two.

Re:Einstein's Equivalence Principle (2, Informative)

at_18 (224304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221286)

No. There is absolutely no difference between free fall in a gravitational field and absence of a gravitational field. This is the famous Equivalence Principle of General Relativitiy. This link gives more detail: http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/gener [virginia.edu] al_relativity.html [virginia.edu]

So there exists no difference at all between free fall and zero gravity. As for your second point, no experiment can distinguish between the two cases. So no observation can differentiate between the two.


This is incorrect. For a point-like object, it's true that you can't distinguish between the two. But for an extended body, if the intensity of the gravitational field varies with the position, different parts of the body will try to follow different "free falls" trajectories and this will result in very real forces inside the body - so called
tidal forces. BTW, to have any kind of measurable difference you need either a gravitational field with a very steep gradient, for example very near to a black hole center, or a very big object like the Earth.

Re:Einstein's Equivalence Principle (1)

Annoying (245064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221604)

There is a different between freefall in an atmosphere in a gravitational field and the absence of gravity. Most orbitting objects will eventually have orbital decay from the minimal amount of atmosphere they are in so the most correct term for the gravity situation in orbit is 'microgravity', given enough time any loose object will settle in accordance with the gravitational field. So I've heard anyway.

Re:Einstein's Equivalence Principle (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222638)

There is a different between freefall in an atmosphere in a gravitational field and the absence of gravity.

Yeah, The rushing wind is a dead give-away too.

Re:Einstein's Equivalence Principle (1)

Compass (557976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222426)

Free Fall and Zero Gravity are different things.
The Moon is in a Free Fall situation compared to Earth. Earth keeps the Moon orbiting thanks to its gravity field.
Zero Gravity would mean no gravity at all. Another way to say it would mean that the nearest object is infinitely away. If Hawking is in a Zero Gravity situation, then the vessel he's inside will have to burn a lot of fuel so it can orbit Earth, or else he would slingshot into infinity.
To prove my point read these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newtons_law [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_fall [wikipedia.org]
1. An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by another force.
Well, the Moon is in orbit around Earth, right? So there is a force acting, else it would not be around us.
2. Free fall in its strictest sense is the condition of acceleration which is due only to gravity. In other words, the objects undergoing free fall experience only one force: their own weight.
Examples include: a spacecraft with its rockets off; the Moon's trajectory around the Earth, the Earth's orbit around the Sun, or an asteroid's orbit around the Sun; on Earth, falling through a vacuum tube or shaft.

Compass.

Re:No difference (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221554)

There are some small variations, correct, but they're on the order of 10^-6 g, thus the preferred technical term for free-fall/orbit of 'microgravity.'

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220936)

One of the reasons he became so well known in popular culture is his ability to put things into layman's terms. He isn't a pedantic nitpicker like many of the armchair scientists here on Slashdot are.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221926)

Uh, not to be picky, but my work chair doesn't have arms.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (2, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221156)

Its got less letters he has to type. I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually "0 g" he typed.

Stephen Hawking, using 1337speak.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221196)

"...If he is, why would he be using the term "zero gee"?"

Give me a break, everyone judges a persons worth based on the spelling of their words? As if people should be expected to fit some perfect ideal. I know plenty of smart degreed people, who couldn't spell to save their life.

Simple (1)

RiskyChris (999242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222012)

Sitting in a chair, the seat exerts a normal force g upwards against you while the field of gravity exerts a gravitational force g downwards. You feel your presence in the seat. When free-falling gravity is the only force acting on you, so you don't feel a normal force. Zero g. Same reason why you feel "gees" when turning in a car.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (4, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222272)

is Hawking a real physicist?

Either that, or his voicebox computer is the first instance of AI.

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18224390)

Either that, or his voicebox computer is the first instance of AI.

That poor man has been a front for that evil AI for too long now. Free Stephen Hawking!

Re:is Hawking a real physicist? (1)

Compass (557976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222304)

Zero Gravity? Are you sure?

Then please explain how the Moon orbits Earth. Which force keeps the Moon in orbit?

Compass.

I've been wondering... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220628)

Hey Slashdot, why are PC users such ugly dweebs [imageshack.us] in comparison to Mac users [imageshack.us] ? Is it because nobody has the time or patience to put up with Windows/Linux except for friendless, sexless nerds like you?

Re:I've been wondering... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220652)

Is that your mom? Looks like she's ready to go to Hot Topic at the local mall and try to pick up one of the sk8er punks older brother.

Well... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220632)

How about those tax problems with accepting prizes of "space trip"?

Yes, we're supposed to pay taxes on things won in a give away, but the dude refusing a trip due to 25K$ is just sad.

Who else, in the mass of average Joes can even afford to contemplate a space trip?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221508)

If you don't have the money you don't have the money... $25k is a _lot_ to some of us who aren't as fortunate as yourself.

Re:Well... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221622)

Erm, excuse me?

I DONT have the money, and even a software engineer COULDNT AFFORD IT.

What makes you think I can, or let alone pay 25K to fly for 1 day? Sorry, I have better things I could do with that money... Like a second degree or pay off my loans.

As a person with a progressive disability... (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220704)

...I find Hawking's life an immense inspiration. Rock on dude, show the world what a man can do, even if almost completely paralized! FTW!

Err Hmm (2, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221576)

Well, to be fair, with an incredible amount of brilliance, so he can find a job where physical work is almost entirely unneccassary. It's not like he's an average guy just making it in the world. Sort of like ol Chris Reeves. All his story really means is that if you're extremely rich, you can expect to get treatments that far exceed what others would get. And since all the effort he puts into that directly helps him, I guess the most you can say is that he's not a wimp.

Anyhow, I didn't mean to be downer, and Hawking is obviously a very impressive person, but he's hardly a role model for the disabled... because he's a man of near singular abilities. If Kobe Bryant had been born in the ghetto, he can hardly be a role model to your average poor kid, because none of them could ever become wealthy by being great basketball players because they don't have his abilities. You see?

Re:Err Hmm (2, Insightful)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222366)

Many children see basketball players as role models. It's quite questionable if they should, but no question that they do.

Stephen Hawking was exceptionally lucky that his disability proved to be manageable, at least professionally. Others may be able to use this as inspiration to change to better-suited careers. One thing that absolutely cannot be disputed is his ability to roll with the punches, and fire back with a few of his own. Live life aggressively. If your only career path is to be a theoretical physicist, then be the best damn theoretical physicist you can.

A basketball player, on the other hand, sends the message that "if you're good enough, you could become rich and respected yourself." While this is true, the number of players that reach this elite status are few. Even the numbers that even make it to the NBA are relatively few, and just making it is no guarantee of celebrity. (Of course this is true of any profession where the money is mostly paid out to a few people at the top.) The ideal lesson would be "always have a backup plan" but usually it ends up being "you really can do anything!"

Mal-2

Re:Err Hmm (1)

TerovThePyro (970487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18223844)

he's a man of near singular abilities.
And if he were a man of singular abilities we could never know it, for he would be on the other side of the event horizon.

Re:Err Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18224008)

Well, to be fair, with an incredible amount of brilliance, so he can find a job where physical work is almost entirely unneccassary. [sic]

Do you think that Hawking is the only physicist who doesn't need to exhaust himself physically in his day to day activities? Hawking may very well have made larger discoveries in physics that most, but that doesn't mean that the mundane aspects of his work is somehow different from that of other physicists. The gp could become an "ordinary" physicist and have the same requirement on himself as Hawking has.

Anyhow, I didn't mean to be downer

Are you sure? Then what was the purpose of your post? The gp obviously found Hawkings inspirational, and whether or not you think that he is warranted in this is really irrelevant.

If Kobe Bryant had been born in the ghetto, he can hardly be a role model to your average poor kid, because none of them could ever become wealthy by being great basketball players because they don't have his abilities.

The point is that what Hawking has done is a testament to his strength of will. He wouldn't have become a world famous physicist without his intellect, but neither would intellect have been enough on his own either.

I don't know what the life goal of the gp is (if he has one), but if Hawkings, who in all likelihood has a much more severe disability, could write several books, hold a normal academic position, go on lecture tours, and even go into space, then surely whatever the gp is aiming for (assuming it's not becoming a world class sprinter or something equally ridiculous) might very well be within reach as well. The aspect of Hawking's intellect doesn't enter into the equation here.

You seem to have the wrong idea about what an inspirational role model is supposed to accomplish. Hawking has probably inspired thousands of kids to do well in school so that they could study physics. Will all of these kids end up as famous as Hawking? Of course not. Do they all really expect to? Not really. However, they will most likely lead happier lives than they would have without that inspiration nonetheless. In that case, what more is there to ask for?

what a... (2, Interesting)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220706)

top bloke!

"that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit."

Says it all really.

Re:what a... (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220748)

So if I go blind, I can still drive my car, right? After all, trundling down the road at 50mph, hitting pedestrians, crashing through department stores and killing innocent bystanders are all part of the inspirational story of a man who was disabled in vision, but not in spirit!

Spirit. (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221952)

What a bigot, disparaging those of us who are disabled in spirit. Just because I have scoliosis of the soul doesn't mean that I don't deserve to fly on spacecraft that are named after the act of emesis.

I bet the jerk Hawking hates crackpots and anthropocidal maniacs too.

TroLL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220718)

To 7he po7itically

If he was a Californian, he... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220778)

...would claim the flight crippled him and sue the plane owners ;-)
     

If he waits a bit longer ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220796)

... he should be able to book a ride into space from these people [memorialspaceflights.com] - and they will guarantee he won't be vomiting.

This news is unacceptably OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220896)

This news is unacceptably OLD. This has been a well known fact for weeks or more.
OLD>>>>>>>>>>>
Slashdot--

Future != now (3, Interesting)

renoX (11677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220932)

While I respect the man, I'm a bit baffled by things like this "he wants to encourage public interest in spaceflight, which he believes is critical to the future of humanity."

The "future" covers a huge amount of time, so I'm not sure we need to take interest in space exploration *now*. If I was the one spending money, I'll put most of the credit into Drexler's style nanotechnology research, once we 'master' nanotechnology, then tackling space exploration makes sense as either:
- at best a space elevator becomes possible and space access cost are reduced a lot,
- at worst a space elevator is impossible, but the improved materials should still reduce the cost of space access a lot and the payload themselves would be lighter.

Re:Future != now (4, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221600)

Why not educate everyone before working on nanotechnology? Why not master world hunger before working on worldwide literacy rates?

The point is, we can work on all of these things. Provided that humans still exist 500 years from now, there will still be poor illiterate people, regardless of what planet or plane of existence we live in then.

Let's set our sights on the stars. Maybe at least we'll hit Mars.

Re:Future != now (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221780)

Provided that humans still exist 500 years from now, there will still be poor illiterate people, regardless of what planet or plane of existence we live in then.

Except that in 2507 "illiterate" will be defined as a person who does not have a biochip brain implant to give them access to the Matrix. Or a person who has the implant but changed their mind so many times that Windows Genuine Advantage detected a crossed threshold, yanked their licence, and dumped them off the net until they call Redmond over a land line and explain.

Re:Future != now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18223280)

I'll put most of the credit into Drexler's style nanotechnology research, once we 'master' nanotechnology, then tackling space exploration makes sense [..]
Nanotechnology is a worthwile effort, no doubt, but does one have to exclude the other? I'm sure we have enough scientists to work on both. If we were forced to prioritize which fields to invest in I'd have to go with energy, though, because our ability to harness energy in various forms is the cornerstone of all other technologies and the state of our society. In fact, better power sources would not only enhance our ability to travel in space, but it would very likely advance technology in ways favorable for nanotechnology research. It may not sound exciting but it all comes down to the simple fact that energy is everything, and our inability to use it efficiently is our greatest limitation.

Fortunately we aren't forced to prioritize, so we can invest resources in energy, nanotechnology and space travel.

Re:Future != now (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224612)

Nah. What we want to do is develop strong AI. That way, we can send transhuman robots to colonize the galaxy, while we stay home and read slashdot for the rest of eternity. Why worry about "the destiny of the human race" if you can get someone else to do it for you?

Encouraging interest in spaceflight (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220984)

I thought the rich guy who wanted to pay NASA $20 million to fly with them was bringing in interest, but I guess he's not good enough.

Re:Encouraging interest in spaceflight (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221702)

some rich guy who you don't even know the name of or give a toss about at all, yea, he's going to really raise the profile eh?

Science ragdoll hilarity (1)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221088)

My only hope is that they video tape the whole thing. He must know what he's in for. I can only imagine what he'll say after the whole ordeal is over...

'Despite my intelligence I must say it was a rather bad choice to bring my wheelchair into the plane. Intially everything went well unill I fell out and kicked myself in the back of the head, then my chair followed suit. I've been forced to change most of my theories on gravity because of this. I strongly discourage anyone wishing to experience zero g. It is more trouble than it's worth'

Smacked into the floor hard (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221164)

The average g-load is 1g, so you typically get 0g for 25 seconds, and 2g for 25 seconds and some time in between.

I am sure Hawkins will handle 0g, but I wonder how he will feel during the 25 seconds of 2g. That is stressful even for a healthy person.

Slamming on the brakes in a Porsche on a good track going from 250km/h down to 0 is a change from 1g to 1.28g (sqrt(1^2+0.8^2), so the vomit comet is 7 times that! You are certainly smacked into the floor hard, even with assistants.

Re:Smacked into the floor hard (2, Interesting)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222436)

Come on, you have to be kidding me. 2g for 25 seconds? That's hardly stressful at all. +2g in an aircraft is a LOT different to doing essentially -1.28g decelerating in a car. For starters, +ve g-forces are a lot easier for the body to tolerate than negative. Fighter pilots do up to about +10g for short periods, but only about -4g. I've done +5g for 30 seconds in an aerobatic spin, and ok, it does feel a bit heavy, but it's no problem. Even with Hawking's condition, 2g certainly shouldn't pose any threat.

And it's not as if the vomit comet suddenly goes from 0g to +2g - the climb-out from the parabolic arc is somewhat gradual, so the occupants settle to the floor fairly gently. Plus I guarantee he will be under someone's close scrutiny, and they'll be sure that he's close to the floor before the end of the ride.

It's a fun ride (4, Informative)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221238)

I've been on that flight (courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which got to show video of me losing my lunch [tronguy.net] in return). It's a lot of fun. I hope Professor Hawking enjoys his ride.

Anyone who wants to can go on Zero G's flights, as long as they don't have a medical problem that gets in the way - and they have a doctor on staff who goes over your medical history before you go. All it takes is $3750.

Re:It's a fun ride (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222180)

Anyone who wants to can go on Zero G's flights, as long as they don't have a medical problem that gets in the way - and they have a doctor on staff who goes over your medical history before you go.
Oh yeah, Prof. Hawking's medical history shouldn't be a problem...

Re:It's a fun ride (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18223254)

Oh yeah, Prof. Hawking's medical history shouldn't be a problem...
Depends on what effect ALS has had on his body. If he's not susceptible to motion sickness, it may not be a big deal after all. Regardless, he's not getting on that 727 unless the doc clears him, and given his prominence, I'd be greatly surprised if Zero G's doc and Professor Hawking's doc weren't in close contact well before all this was announced in the first place.

Re:It's a fun ride (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224566)

Depends on what effect ALS has had on his body.

Because of ALS he has the ultimate sedentary lifestyle. If we were talking about somebody else who had not moved at all in decades (for whatever reason) I would be suggesting that they not go out and do aerobatics in an aircraft.

If he doesn't enjoy the ride... (2, Funny)

gemada (974357) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221266)

In space, he will be able to throw his chair

Re:If he doesn't enjoy the ride... (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221694)

In space, he will be able to throw his chair

The article is about Steve Hawking, not Steve Ballmer.

hopefully he doesn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221274)

...plan on bringing any wasabi

Article is grossly inaccurate (5, Informative)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18222310)

FTFA:

"On April 26, Hawking, surrounded by a medical entourage, is to take a zero-gravity ride out of Cape Canaveral on a so-called vomit comet, a padded aircraft that flies a roller-coaster trajectory to produce periods of weightlessness. He is getting his lift gratis, from Zero Gravity, a company that has been flying thrill seekers on a special Boeing 727-200 since 2004 at $3,500 a trip."

Zero Gravity is taking him up... NOT NASA. It's NOT the Vomit Comet (NASA's plane).

From a better article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17156385/page/2/ [msn.com]

"Parabolic flights can pose a risk of motion sickness or more serious health effects, but Zero Gravity's flights have been structured to minimize the risk. During a typical flight, Zero Gravity's "G-Force One" jet makes a gradual transition to weightless parabolas, and provides significantly fewer bouts of weightlessness than NASA's "Vomit Comet" jet. "

cmdrdildo is asleep at the wheel! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18222510)

this news isn't 4 days old is it?

Looks like Hawking is doing what he should have (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18222542)

done long ago, doing as Mr. Hands did and earning himself a Darwin Award - wooooooooooooooooooooooooot!

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MODPOINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!

Not the Vomit Comet (1)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18224218)

He's not riding on the Vomet Comet, he's riding on an imitation by some tourist startup out of Ft. Lauderdale. Check the wikipedia article on Vomit Comet.
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