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B Walking on a sheet of grippy fabric in space.

  1. May 27, 2016 #1
    How much inertia gravity would you get walking around on a reasonably strong sheet tied in the corners working with the weather of the sheet rubbing up against the walker would it be worth it to strengthen muscles.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2016 #2


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    It would not be the same at all as any kind of aritifical gravity. Your body is still in freefall.

    A couple of problems:
    1] You would not be able to walk around.

    You set one foot on the sheet, swing your other leg forward, and set the other foot. (This will require strong ankle muscles, to actively tilt you forward so your leading foot can reach the floor. There's no gravity to make you fall forward.)

    But when you go to lift the trailing foot, there is no force pulling forward on your body, as there would be with gravity. You'll simply rotate backwards, pivoting on your leading foot, until you're facing the ceiling.

    You'll have to keep your legs operating along a single axis (straight up/down). The best you could hope for is taking baby steps.

    2] You are only exercising your leg muscles; the rest of your body does no work.
  4. May 27, 2016 #3


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    Very interesting. I'd never thought about it like that before. I suppose that means that the scene near the beginning of the modern-day part of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the flight attendant is walking along the aisle of the space shuttle in zero G using what look like velcro-soled shoes, is not practical.

    What a pity. I liked that scene. Maybe Kubrick didn't have a physicist consulting to the movie, or maybe he was told it's wrong but decided to use some artistic licence for the benefit of the effect it created.

    Or is she perhaps using additional leverage by grabbing onto handles on the tops of seats with her hands? I'll have to look the scene up on the internet to find out.
  5. May 27, 2016 #4
    Velcro like stuff ought to work, though as you said, the flight attendant would need to have handles to grab so they can push themselves toward the floor.
    Then again, serving food and drinks could get problematic.
    A long time since I watched the movie, but I'm sure there were some scenes in the moon flight part where the passengers looked and acted like people on any typical long haul flight.
    Yes. some artistic lisence I think, but anyway, a landmark movie
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  6. May 27, 2016 #5


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    I thought about 2001 while writing this.
    Remember how carefully and slowly she was walking.
    It's not that you can't get around, it would just be slow and awkward.

    Walking at a normal pace requires the assistance of gravity.
  7. May 28, 2016 #6
    what about a big mat with very long hairs hanging in a space capsule.I get however this would not be a full body work out.
  8. May 28, 2016 #7
    I'm pretty sure the ISS does have exercising kit on board, it being recognised to be necessary to maintain muscles and other organs.
    They probably adjust the parameters systematically to see what difference it makes, being that it's science.
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