View Full Version : Is there a place that can simulate weightlessness?


Odette
11-05-00, 08:47 AM
hi there, i've always been fascinated by the feeling of weightlessness. is there a place that can simulate it for humans? do we have the technology to do it? if we do, is it open to the public?

dexter
11-05-00, 07:49 PM
no there isnt, at leaste not yet. they do and a anti-grav machine that will float objeccts as large asa frog of quarter. though there is only one- a few int he world.
it is possible to make one large enough to float a human, though it would be very expencive. but till then, go swimming!

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Odette
11-06-00, 07:32 AM
thanks, dexter ... i guess that was far-fetched wishful thinking on my part =)

yeah, i do love swimming, that's da closest thing for me ...

Crisp
11-06-00, 01:22 PM
Hi Odette, Dexter,

Actually there are two "places" on earth where weightlessness can be experienced:

NASA rebuilt an airplane (I believe it was a B-17 or some other B-xx series airplance) that allows you to simulate weightlessness for about 40 seconds. The airplane climbs up to a high altitude, and then commences a parabolic dive. During this dive, you float inside the airplane, simulating weightlessness. This plane is nicknamed the "Vomit Comet" for .. ehr... you know.

I'm not sure if this one already exists, but I once heard/read that the Japanese were planning to convert an old mine-shaft to a weightlessness-simulator. An elevator would simply drop down the shaft, once again giving a zero-g experience. Ofcourse the elevator brakes when it nears the bottom of the shaft.


I don't believe any of the two are publicly accessible. It's interesting to note however, that the Vomit Comet was used to shoot the spacescenes from the "Apollo 13" movie (starring Tom Hanks). I guess if you have some $10.000 to spare that you can take a ride on the Vomit Comet -- I wouldn't recommend it though, given the plane's nickname :).

Bye!

Crisp


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Odette
11-08-00, 08:05 AM
heey .... das cool! now for da $10,000 ... hmmm ... where's my wallet ... *sigh* ... i think i'll just dream for free =)

Letticia
11-09-00, 09:15 PM
"Vomit Comet" (it's a KC-135, by the way) is often loaned for college and sometimes high school student teams to perform weightless experiments, but NASA won't [i]sel/i> rides for money. However, Russian Space Agency has a much more capitalist spirit. Here is where you can book your ride:
http://www.spaceadventures.com/adventures/zerog/

Space Adventures is a company which sells rides on high performance Russian military planes.

Letticia
11-09-00, 09:18 PM
Dang, I messed up my HTML codes. Anyway, zero-gravity ride is $5400. I think that includes hotel in Moscow, but not the plane ticket there.

webster
06-01-04, 12:13 PM
There is another alternative. A company based in Austria, Paul's Parabelflug, will take people up for less than $1,000.00. May be slightly more now depending on how the euro is doing. They were out of action for a while because their plane broke down, but they have just resumed flights.

blackholesun
06-01-04, 02:15 PM
no there isnt, at leaste not yet. they do and a anti-grav machine that will float objeccts as large asa frog of quarter. though there is only one- a few int he world.
it is possible to make one large enough to float a human, though it would be very expencive. but till then, go swimming!

It wasn't so much an antigravity device as it was a powerful magnetic field. It evokes non ferromagnetic objects (water, frogs olives ect...) to become magnets if the strength of the magnet is high enough. If we had a very powerful sustainable magnetic field focused in a human sized chamber, we could float too. Too bad its too hard to make at this point.

dsdsds
06-01-04, 02:53 PM
Rollercoasters and elevators

buffys
06-01-04, 03:13 PM
there are actually quite a few versions of a ride I know as "the drop of doom" in parks all over north america. It basically drops you from a height in what is essentially a standing roller coaster cart. The longer the drop the longer the sensation of weightlessness but it amounts to a few seconds at most. It's really cool though and probably the closest you'll get to it any time soon. If you live near a big city there's a good chance a ride like this can be found there.

BTW - if you ever try these rides make sure to have a penny, rubber ball, bean bag (anything sufficiently heavy that won't blow away and light enough that it won't hurt anyone) in your hand and just as the ride starts to fall, open your hand at chest height. If you time it just right the object will float in front of you for a couple of seconds, it's pretty neat.

BigBlueHead
06-01-04, 03:40 PM
There are now zero-g labs that operate on the same principle as the "drop of doom" rides - they're using them to make pure forms of glass.

buffys
06-01-04, 03:44 PM
DAMN! they must have a seriously long drop available if they actually have the time to manufacture something during the fall. Are they in old mine shafts or something?

do you have any links? I haven't heard of these before, sounds interesting.

BigBlueHead
06-01-04, 04:00 PM
http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/zero-g/index.html

There's a really tall one they were using for the glass manufacture that was in the news recently, but I can't remember where/what it is.

cosmictraveler
06-02-04, 07:35 AM
Skydiving would be a way to get the effects of being weightless as you plummet to earth at over 160 MPH if you want to "feel" that condition on the cheap.

Going scuba diving is a close way to also "feel' that sort of sensation as you float around underwater.

Whenever I take certain prescribed medications I feel as though I'm floating in my mind, so drugs can simulate that "feeling" also.

slotty
06-02-04, 11:26 AM
at the peak of the swing on a kids playground swing, you are weightless for a fraction of a second. And its cheap!

g3ch0
06-03-04, 09:27 PM
i thought the termanal volocity for a human was like 120 MPH

buffys
06-03-04, 09:41 PM
depends wether your arms and legs are out or in but that's about right, what's your point tho? you don't actually have to be falling that fast to experience weightlessness, just 9.8 m/s/s. Terminal velocity is just the point you that stop accelerating.

aw3524
06-04-04, 01:09 PM
With arms / legs outstretched 120 mph is terminal velocity.

However, speeds of over 200-300 mph have been reached.

(http://hypertextbook.com/facts/JianHuang.shtml)

slotty
06-04-04, 01:22 PM
While testing pressure suits for prodject Mercury, a US airforce test pilot/nutter hurled himself towards earth from 102,800 feet. Still the world record i belive. his terminal velocity was emense due to the rarified atmosphere. Anybody know how fast? i heard that he broke the sound barrier!! :eek:

spidergoat
06-04-04, 01:36 PM
Nasa simulates weightlessness underwater. Just go to a pool with scuba gear, or a mask/air compressor.

buffys
06-04-04, 09:26 PM
you have to jump through so many hoops to scuba dive, not to mention needing a significant body of water near by (true you can do it in a pool but thats a little undewhelming plus getting the equitment can be hard). Sky diving is more accessable, the only problem is it's so amazing the first couple of times you don't even notice the sensation of weightlessness.

Dr Lou Natic
06-04-04, 09:33 PM
I don't see how skydiving would make you feel weightless, just the opposite I would have thought.
Riding thermals on a hanglider makes you feel weightless.

buffys
06-04-04, 09:40 PM
all I can tell you is when I've skydived it didn't feel like I was falling at all, it felt like I was floating and the ground was rushing toward me instead of the other way around. This is in freefall of course and changes once your chute opens.

Communist Hamster
06-05-04, 05:25 AM
Yes that is true that the nutter did break the sound barrier. Not in a vehicle! Can you imagine? Wonder what the sonic boom felt like?

blackholesun
06-05-04, 03:26 PM
There was no sonic boom. There wasn't enough air at that altitude even for a sonic boom. He was pretty much falling through a mild vacuum.

MacM
06-05-04, 03:57 PM
Actually there are facilities available to the public. They are chambers designed for training and testing various things for skydivers. A large fan at the bottom (screened off of course) and a tall tower. You jump into the upward air stream and you can skydive for as long as they keep the fans running.

Actually it beats the risk of that sudden stop when a parachute fails in actual skydiving.

buffys
06-05-04, 06:00 PM
I was thinking of mentioning those too but you don't really feel weightless, don't get me wrong I'm told they feel really cool but since you aren't actually in freefall the sensation isn't quite the same. More importantly though, they are both hard to master (staying over the fan and not getting blown off) and REALLY rare compared to the other suggestions given here. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea, just have fun trying to find one nearby.

BTW - the chances of your chute failing is statistically insignificant. There's a better chance of getting killed by a run away bus while watching tv at home.

Persol
06-05-04, 06:15 PM
The problem is that you are NOT weightless when skydiving. To 'feel' weightless you need to be accelerating toward the ground. When sky diving you are only 'free falling' for a little while, and then hit a constant speed fairly quickly.

The vomet comet and the previously mentioned falling elevator (and anything like that were the air travels with you) both work.

Scuba diving with weighted balasts you won't actually feel weightless, because you're pressing against the suit. As far as I can tell, NASA only uses this because it's the cheapest, easiest, and only way to get astronauts used to their suits and movements.

buffys
06-05-04, 06:17 PM
you do actually spend a bit of time in true freefall before you stop accelerating and it DOES feel like weightlessness, trust me. Anyway all these sugestions are imperfect as going to space anytime to is unlikely for most of us.

Persol
06-05-04, 06:35 PM
35 seconds of freefall and 5-7 minutes of gliding

hmmm... more time than I thought

buffys
06-05-04, 07:39 PM
even longer sometimes, the highest I've ever jumped from was around 12,000 ft (much higher and it get's hard to breathe) and I got almost a minute of freefall. It's doesn't sound like much time but it really stretches out when you're up there.

scotth
06-07-04, 11:43 AM
Skydiving would be a way to get the effects of being weightless as you plummet to earth at over 160 MPH if you want to "feel" that condition on the cheap.



Skydiver checking in here.

1) Unless you are falling nearly head or feet down, 105-120 mph (depending on your build and clothing) is the typical speed range while skydiving.
2) Unless you do a balloon or base (building, aerial, span, earth) jump, you pretty much don't get any weightless feeling at all. You only get it for a brief moment from balloon or base jumps while your speed is low enough that wind drag is negligible.
3) While jumping from aircraft, your exit speed is a large fraction of (or even higher than) terminal velocity, there is essentially no feeling of weightlessness.

If you wanna get it by jumping, bungie jumping is less involved alternative.

BTW, you can sign up for the Russian version of the vomit comet, here:
http://www.incredible-adventures.com/zerog.html

hypewaders
06-07-04, 06:57 PM
I don't feel weightless skydiving, but how I love to skydive. SCUBA dives in fresh water have felt much more like weightlessness to me.

For temporary weightlessness, a small airplane can do it reasonably well for short durations. I can fly fairly ballistically for about 12 seconds with an aerobatic airplane, and about half that in a normal category machine. It takes considerable practise with power to do it well: Otherwise, everything tends to float forward on the upline, and aft on the down, in proportion to parasite drag.

NASA has much more speed, and of course autopilot/autothrottles, so they fly bigger, longer parabolas and passengers can do much more. But if you can't arrange it with NASA or the Russians, try making friends with a local experienced and playful pilot.

buffys
06-07-04, 07:14 PM
I don't feel weightless skydiving, but how I love to skydive. SCUBA dives in fresh water have felt much more like weightlessness to me.


that's interesting, my experience is exactly opposite. I think it's the higher resistance of water compared to air that spoiled the illusion for me when scuba diving.

It also occured to me that none of us here have actually felt zero g or even micro gravity, we're just guessing what it may be like. That might partly account for our different opinions on which feels more truly weightless.

Persol
06-07-04, 07:32 PM
I've been in a private jet that did a noise dive 'to demonstrate the companies manufacturing ability'. It quickly turned from zero grav, to negative grav... but like it's suggested.... you can experience zero gs this way.

buffys
06-07-04, 08:21 PM
I think we can agree, of all the potential ways for an average citizen to feel an approximation of weightlessness would be in a falling airplane (vomit comet) but even that is an unlikely possibility for most people.

The best terrestrial methods have all been mentioned already and each have different advantages and disadvantages but at best they are a simulation.

cosmictraveler
06-08-04, 08:07 AM
Skydiver checking in here.

1) Unless you are falling nearly head or feet down, 105-120 mph (depending on your build and clothing) is the typical speed range while skydiving.
2) Unless you do a balloon or base (building, aerial, span, earth) jump, you pretty much don't get any weightless feeling at all. You only get it for a brief moment from balloon or base jumps while your speed is low enough that wind drag is negligible.
3) While jumping from aircraft, your exit speed is a large fraction of (or even higher than) terminal velocity, there is essentially no feeling of weightlessness.

If you wanna get it by jumping, bungie jumping is less involved alternative.

BTW, you can sign up for the Russian version of the vomit comet, here:
http://www.incredible-adventures.com/zerog.html


"However, by diving or "standing up" in free fall, any experienced skydiver can learn to reach speeds of over 160-180MPH. Speeds of over 200MPH require significant practice to achieve. The record free fall speed, done without any special equipment, is 321MPH. Obviously, it is desirable to slow back down to 110MPH before parachute opening."

http://clickit.go2net.com/search?pos=1&ppos=0&plnks=2&uplnks=18&cat=web&cid=239171&site=srch&area=srch.noncomm.google&shape=textlink&cp=info.dogpl&cluster-click=0&pd=0&coll=1&query=record+freefall+skydiving+speed+&rawto=http://hypertextbook.com/facts/JianHuang.shtml

Persol
06-08-04, 06:02 PM
"Speeds of over 200MPH require significant practice to achieve. The record free fall speed, done without any special equipment, is 321MPH.I don't know about this. What part of 'skill' is there in diving head first and staying that way? If you can stay head down... anything else doesn't really matter much.

scotth
06-10-04, 08:43 AM
I don't know about this. What part of 'skill' is there in diving head first and staying that way? If you can stay head down... anything else doesn't really matter much.

Falling head down is not a stable position, and is pretty difficult to maintain when you first try it. It requires quite a bit of balance and practice.

hypewaders
06-10-04, 05:40 PM
... and altitude.

coli_me
07-26-04, 04:11 AM
Hi

the kc-135(vomet comet)
in russia and in florida
can simulate weightless
by diving head first on a plane
and cutting the engines and u fly
its cool :cool:
but it costs over $2,500 and its in russia :D

Dunnoyet
07-28-04, 09:52 PM
A device (I think called the Bioreactor) can be used to simulate microbe growth and behavior in near-weightless environments. I read about it in the Discover magazine some time ago.

Dunnoyet
07-28-04, 10:01 PM
"freefall" = no force acting on you but gravity
This means that you MUST be accelerating down at 9.8m/s/s to be in "freefall." That's what the shuttle does...

...but feeling "weightless"? This is probably defined as not being able to perceive any force acting on you. This happens in freefall. You can also probably do that by hopping into a pool of liquid exactly as dense as you are.

hypewaders
07-29-04, 06:27 PM
"not being able to perceive any force acting on you. This happens in freefall."

I don't know about you, but 120 mph wind is fairly noticeable to me.

cato
09-15-04, 09:29 PM
They used a jet to get weightless for short periods of time for the movie Apollo 13. I bet it costs a lot to do it though =]

Haywire
09-16-09, 08:35 AM
check this website out, it's in America and is still expensive but less than $5000
They are just starting out...Sorry this is my first post so they wont let me post the website, so if i put a piece of it on you can play about with it till you find it "comspacewatch"

hypewaders
09-16-09, 12:47 PM
In my airplanes I can provide about 20 seconds of microgravity- if you don't mind the 4-G pulls in between (I count a 10-second warning, and then it's a real good idea to get stable on the floor, or your partner, as I bring on the Gs).

fedr808
09-16-09, 06:00 PM
yah its called freefall.

John Connellan
09-16-09, 06:49 PM
...but feeling "weightless"? This is probably defined as not being able to perceive any force acting on you. This happens in freefall. You can also probably do that by hopping into a pool of liquid exactly as dense as you are.

This would not be a true weightless experience though as you would have the pressure of water on all sides.

The airplane is closer to the real experience as you can wave your arms though air freely instead of very dense water.

James R
09-16-09, 08:50 PM
This thread started in 2000, was briefly resurrected in 2004, and now rises from the dead again in 09. Hmm...

hypewaders
09-17-09, 08:11 AM
This thread is now at zero gee. Where I get off exit. I won't be holding my breath in here until 2014.

flameofanor5
09-24-09, 03:30 PM
You can do it in a plain, I'm not sure exactly how, something with moving up and down,and it makes you feel almost weightless. They showed it on Mythbusters. But, while doing it there is a reverse affect, you feel 10 times heavier than you are. Of course, it's not open to the public.