For anyone that dreams of going into space, there are a number of experiences that sit atop the ‘I want to do that’ list. One is the initial launch of the space shuttle, while another is being able to view Earth above. Yet, for many, there’s one aspect that takes the #1 spot: the feeling of zero-gravity and floating around in space.
Floating in space has been romanticized in various different ways. This ranges from it being a plot device in the acclaimed – and aptly titled – Hollywood blockbuster Gravity, to Homer Simpson snacking on a burst packet of potato chips in his own unique way. The question is: What does zero-gravity actually feel like?
After engaging in five Space Shuttle missions and spending more than 32 days in space, Dr. Steven Hawley is one of the few people that can answer the question. Dr. Hawley spoke to Betway Casino about his experiences, and his overall feeling of zero-gravity is perhaps not what most would expect.
A hinderance rather than a highlight
Dr. Hawley’s summary of his zero-gravity experience is as followed: “I never found it to be the kind of euphoric experience that people probably imagine.” Yet one of the main reasons for this was due to the work Dr. Hawley had to do during his missions in space.
Alongside his other crew members, he had a lot of tasks to complete. However, trying to do these tasks becomes even more complex when you throw the lack gravity into the mix. “You’re dealing with the fact that you’ve got to think about where your feet are,” explains Dr. Hawley. “If they’re not anchored, then you’re going to float away or you’re going to lose your pencil.”
The inefficiency this caused meant they had to account for the weightlessness when in-flight. To do this, they first worked out how long it would take to complete tasks on the ground. They’d then take this time and add 50% to it, which gave them a general idea about how much longer it would take to do in space.
Slowing down progress isn’t the only problem with floating around in space. It can also lead to various health-related issues. “When you’re weightless, that also leads to certain physiological reactions, including nausea,” noted Dr. Hawley.
He was one of the fortunate ones who didn’t suffer nausea or disorientation during his space adventures. With that said, Dr. Hawley failed to completely avoid any painful experiences. He said that he had to deal with both a headache and backache.
With the uniqueness and excitement of space travel, many points could have been regarded as a highlight for Dr. Hawley during his first mission. However, nobody could have predicted he was most impressed by the NASA simulation he’d used during his years of training. “After my first launch, my first thought wasn’t, ‘Wow, look at the Earth,’ it was, ‘Wow, that simulation is really good,'” Dr. Hawley revealed.
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