This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.
By Jon Lackman
Posted 10.12.2010 at 5:11 pm 21 Comments
No one has ever quite nailed down gravity. Newton saw that bodies appeared to attract each other even at a great distance, and from this observation was able to construct a mathematical formula that predicted the motion of the planets with astonishing accuracy.
For an hour and a half or so earlier this month, 30 teachers from Ohio middle schools weighed nothing at all. The same went for me; for TV personality "Science Bob" Pflugfelder; and for 2,016 optic-orange ping-pong balls.
Scientists trying to explain the universe’s accelerating expansion usually point to dark energy, which seems to be pushing everything apart.
But an Indiana University professor has a new theory, reports New Scientist: We’re inside a black hole that exists in another universe. Specifically, a black hole that rebounded, somewhat like a spring.
Using only two months of data, the GOCE gravity-tracking satellite has built the first-ever full map of Earth's gravitational field.
The map, called a geoid, reflects the bumps and valleys of Earth's gravitational effects. The map shows what the Earth would look like if it was covered in an ocean dictated by gravity, as the European Space Agency explains. It's not as smooth as you might think -- gravity is slightly different in different parts of the globe.
First came dark matter, the gravitational source from within our galaxy that astronomers couldn't see. Then came dark energy, the undetectable force pushing the expansion of the universe. Now, NASA scientists believe they have confirmed a new player, dubbed "dark flow," that is dragging hundreds of galaxies along the same path. Even stranger, the researchers believe that dark flow is actually the gravitational pull from matter beyond the edge of the known universe.
Dark matter, the material that makes up the majority of the matter in the universe, remains so mysterious that scientists don't even know how much of it there is, let alone how it behaves. However, using new calculations about the interaction between black holes and dark matter, scientists have deduced an upper limit on the amount of dark matter in the Milky Way.
Dark matter's status as a mysterious and invisible lurker in the universe has frustrated scientists for years. Now, one hopes to solve the puzzle a different way: using a modified version of Newton's second law that would eliminate the need for dark matter altogether. Researchers in Brazil have devised an experiment that could put the modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) to the test, New Scientist reports.
After six months of testing and very careful calibration, the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite is sending back its first data sets as it now begins precisely mapping tiny variations in Earth’s magnetic field. How does one go about mapping the Earth’s fundamental force? As it turns out, very, very carefully.
As planets of our solar system tug at each other with their gravitation tethers, they create a protean sea of forces and counter forces. But within that maelstrom lay gravitational channels that could serve as highways for future spacecraft, just as soon as Professor Shane Ross of from Virginia Tech University finishes mapping them out.
Scientists working on behalf of NASA have successfully levitated a mouse using a strong magnetic field. I pay taxes so that stuff like this can happen. I don't hate animals. It's for understanding microgravity better, ok?
NASA astronauts Edward Lu and Stanley Love first proposed using a robotic spacecraft to nudge space rocks away from Earth using the gentle force of gravity a few years ago. Now a European aerospace giant has begun seriously investigating the concept.
Getting married in apparent weightlessness looks like fun; it's the next best thing to getting married in space.
Keep in mind that I use the terms "apparent" or "simulated" weightlessness, because, as discussed in a previous article, we're not talking about actual weightlessness in these situations. Actual weightlessness requires the absence of a gravitational force.
Doesn’t it seem that all movies and television shows suggest that space will one day be populated by nothing but dashingly lithe men and buxom women? Well there’s a reason it’s called science fiction, because extended space travel could actually leave astronauts a gross, bloated, unattractive mess. Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnel projects that long-term exposure to zero gravity has the potential to ravage your looks in the most unappealing ways.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.