Q:

What does a zero-gravity chamber do?

A:

The only way to experience the effects of zero gravity, without going into outer space, is to ride on a zero-gravity flight in an airplane. As the plane passes over the top of a parabolic arc, the cabin becomes a sort of zero-gravity chamber, during which time passengers experience near-weightlessness.

The term "zero gravity" is something of a misnomer. The plane, and everything in it, are still subject to the Earth's gravitational pull. However, as the plane passes over the top of the arc, the centrifugal force temporarily balances out most of the downward pull of gravity, to the point where the effect of gravity feels negligible. What passengers experience is more accurately called "microgravity."

The effect of near-weightlessness generally lasts about 20 to 30 seconds at a time, after which the plane completes its dive and begins to ascend again. As the plane pulls out of its dive and begins to climb, the g-force increases, and passengers go from weightlessness to feeling as though their weight has nearly doubled. These flights can cause extreme motion sickness, earning them the nickname "vomit comets."

Flights of this sort, long used by NASA to prepare astronauts for the sensation of weightlessness, have become available to the general public in recent years. Since 2007, a company called Zero Gravity Corporation has taken passengers up in a modified Boeing 727 and allowed them to experience microgravity. Generally, the pilot performs the ascent and descent pattern no more than 15 times, as a way of limiting the motion sickness some passengers experience.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do water rockets work?

    A:

    A water rocket works because of air pressure that is builds inside a container filled with water, usually a plastic soda bottle, which is released rapidly through an opening as it tries to escape. The reaction of a water rocket is an excellent example of Newton’s third law of motion, which states that forces exist in pairs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does g-force refer to?

    A:

    G-force refers to the force of gravity, equal to a value of 1 for a body at rest at sea level, but which can be increased significantly through vertical or horizontal acceleration. An example of g-force increasing through acceleration is the effect felt by riders on a roller coaster during its downward plunge. The amount of accelerated g-force that a human body can endure is limited, and at levels beginning between 9 and 18 g, it can cause a loss of consciousness.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do pistons work?

    A:

    A piston is a cylindrical plunger that moves within a metal cylinder through the four strokes of the engine cycle: intake, compression, power and exhaust. While their motion is predicated on other engine parts and the mixture of air and fuel, the motion of a piston is central to the functioning of an engine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    The fixed point on which a lever moves is called?

    A:

    The fixed point on which a lever moves is called the fulcrum. A lever is a simple machine with three parts: effort, load and the fulcrum. The lever would be useless without the fulcrum, as it is the point on which the lever pivots.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore