Thursday, October 4, 2012

All Alone in the Night

Did you know that there actually is some gravity at the orbital distance at which the ISS travels (over 200 miles from the Earth's surface)?  So why do the astronauts perceive their little home in space to be a "weightless" environment?  How does the ISS remain "floating" above the Earth?  Well the ISS isn't actually floating in space - it's falling.  Say what?  The reason that the ISS manages to fall but never plummet into the Earth's surface is that it is actually propelled through space at a fast enough speed so that it "falls" AROUND the Earth, and therefore orbits it!  And the fact that the ISS creates this falling orbit is what also creates the artificial or perceived weightless environment that the astronauts experience.  So how fast does the ISS have to travel in order to fall around the Earth?  Over 17,000 miles per hour!!!  Think of all of this as you watch today's Increasing the Awesome video...

(picture and videos by NASA, original video from here)

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