Does airtime feel similar to 0G/microgravity that astronauts feel?

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When you go over a harsh speed bump or go downwards on a roller coaster, you experience this brief feeling of your internals going up as your body comes down. Do astronauts feel a similar sensation in 0G/micro-gravity environments because your internals are suspended relative to the rest of your body? Would I experience 0G (breifly) if I were to be stuck in an elevator if the cable snapped?

In: Physics

7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Yes. In the “normal” situation the gravity pushes your body against the ground (or against some structure that is pushed against the ground). It also pushes parts of your body against each other. The microgravity is what happens when you and everything around you is in free fall. This happens on orbit (orbiting is free falling), but also, for a brief time on a roller-coaster or similar device.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s similar but it lacks the rush you feel when you begin dropping on a roller coaster. It’s more similar to skydiving at terminal velocity. Or an even better simulation would be to drop you from a great height inside an enclosed capsule. As you approach terminal velocity you would no longer feel acceleration but you would feel weightlessness. That’s very similar to the microgravity astronauts feel. And physically it’s exactly the same thing, because what a space craft is actually doing as it orbits is constantly falling. It’s just moving with enough velocity tangential to the Earth that it remains in at a given altitude.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Yes. This is why astronauts train in a special [airplane](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced-gravity_aircraft?wprov=sfla1) that follows a parabolic course to generate that airtime. Fun tidbit: Some scenes from the movie “Apollo 13” were shot in a special set built on such an airplane in order to more accurately depict zero G.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If the cable snapped in an elevator you would feel slightly *more* than 1G, as the brakes would stop the elevator from moving completely.

Anonymous 0 Comments

> Would I experience 0G (breifly) if I were to be stuck in an elevator if the cable snapped?

Well, aside from the fact that modern elevators have emergency brakes, yes. In Bremen, Germany is a [122m drop tower](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallturm_Bremen) that is used to carry out microgravity experiments on Earth.

This isn’t just similar but exactly the same. Astronauts in orbit are not in fact in zero gravity – the gravitational field strength on the ISS is only about 10% weaker than it is at Earth’s surface – but the astronauts and their spacecraft are constantly in freefall.

Anonymous 0 Comments

No. Having the privilege of flown in the “vomit comet” a couple times I can say the intense stomach dropping feeling of catching air in a roller coaster, bike jump, car-over-railroad-tracks, etc. experience is a much more intense reaction due to the surprise of the event and your body’s primal reaction to a perceived dangerous event (falling). The microgravity environment on a parabolic flight is technically the same phenomenon of free fall, but the longer duration allows you to normalize the event once your brain decides you aren’t facing imminent death. Still cool as hell, though!

Anonymous 0 Comments

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