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The weight of gravity

  1. Feb 25, 2016 #1
    Scott Kelly is coming home after a year in space. I try to follow these things and watch the interviews with all the questions, most of which seem straightforward and informative. What drives me nuts, though, is the ubiquitous absence of probably the first question I would ask Scott Kelly or any other astronaut on the ISS. That question is what is it like to be floating around in free-fall for months upon end and then come back to the earth and have to feel the relentless tug and pull of gravity dragging you downward toward the center of the Earth 24/7. I'm trying to imagine how this would be and it seems as if it would be tortuous. However, no one ever asks this question.

    Is there anyone that can direct me to some kind of narrative from an astronaut on this topic?

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2016 #2
  4. Mar 5, 2016 #3
    I think here may be the beginnings of an answer to my query:


    Muscle fatigue is linearly related to your time spent in microgravity. Skin sensitization? I don't think I would have thought of that one, but it makes sense. Again, though, my initial curiosity was what it was like to feel the relentless tug of gravity 24/7 after not having to deal with it all for 6 or 12 months in space. I mean, imagine sitting at a traffic stop and then having to accelerate to 100 kilometers an hour to keep up with traffic. Well, that's all fine and good. But you always welcome the relief when the acceleration stops. Then you are in cruising mode. Or, in the space launches, they're put under several g's and then there's a point when the g's end.

    It's all relative. When you've been exposed to 0 g's for an extended period of time and all of a sudden you're forced to undergo a steady, relentless one g acceleration, it would seem to me that this could be very traumatic. That's what my original post was designed to explore. However, it didn't seem to generate much interest. In fairness, though, I haven't heard of an astronaut/cosmonaut really commenting on this concern of mine, so maybe it really isn't an issue. What seems to be the issue for the astronauts is basically only the physiological effects, not so much the psychological effects.
  5. Mar 5, 2016 #4


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    I remember that Chris Hadfield talks about it extensively in his book: An Astronaut's Guide to Life On Earth. It's a good read. I recommend it if you have a chance to pick up a copy.
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