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Stratosphere ride in las vegas?

  1. Jan 27, 2004 #1
    stratosphere ride in las vegas???

    i was going to write a short essay about the forces felt when you are on this ride and i wanted to confirm my often erroneus assumptions.

    it is a ride that sits at rest and then it catapults you with a fast initial velocity straight up and then it lets you hang near the top and you actually float out of your seat and hit the shoulder harness.

    at the top my assumption is that your body is still accelerating upward and the ride stops abruptly.

    you feel weightless at the top when the rides velocity is 0.

    any other points i should add?


  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2004 #2


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    Re: stratosphere ride in las vegas???

    I doubt that the ride stops so abruptly that it does so while you are still accelerating. You probably stop accelerating some time before the ride reaches its appex. It sounds like the ride just allows your inertia to separate you from your seat. You tend to follow a geodesic, which diverges from the ride at some initial time, and then converges with it at a later time. (It sounds like a rather uncomfortable ride to me.)

    Do you only feel weightless when the ride's velocity is 0? Weightlessness is not an issue of velocity, but of acceleration.

    If you have future access to this ride, and you wouldn't feel like to much of a nerd (that is, if you're really serious about understanding this), then take a gauge with you. A spring with low k and a small weight attached would work. Just let it hang and make note of what happens to the mass.

    Another idea that I've tried on another ride was to let a penny sit on my lap. From this experiment I determined that the ride actually actively accelerated downward (faster than 1 g).
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2004
  4. Jan 28, 2004 #3
    it's actually a pretty fun ride it is on top of this casino that is 1000 ft high and the ride goes up another 120 ft, so it puts you way up and you can see all of vegas and the surrounding desert.
  5. Feb 20, 2010 #4
    Re: stratosphere ride in las vegas???

    Yes, I agree with you. What a ride it is!
  6. Feb 20, 2010 #5


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    Re: stratosphere ride in las vegas???

    Think of the case of a trampoline. As soon as you leave the surface of a trampoline, you're in free fall even though initially you're traveling upwards. Because of fluids and flexible organs in your body, and the compression you experience during the bounce, there's a slight delay before your internals stabilize during the transition, but most of the effect is visual and/or mental perception.

    The extreme case of a zero g ride is going on an aircraft ride like NASA's vomit comet, which can follow an elliptical (parabolic if flat earth), path large enough with sufficient speed that zero g last about 25 seconds out of every 65 seconds, during a cycle, and the passengers feel zero g while still on the upwards leg of the path.

    Back to the trampoline case, if you do a back flip in layout position, with your center of mass going up about the same height as you are tall, your head's vertical motion is almost zero relative to the surface of the trampoline. Although the only forces you actually feel are related to internal centripetal and reactive centrifugal forces, the visual feedback makes the experience similar to hovering, as if gravity were turned off for a brief moment.
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