You don’t have to go to space to know how an astronaut feels free from Earth’s gravity. It is possible to do this with “only” jet aircraft, in ideal conditions for equivalent flights, and with equipment in good condition, not vomiting.
A parabola flight allows you to experience microgravity similar to that of space. The plane takes off until it reaches a safe height in the sky. Then it begins to fly in a zigzag pattern, as if heading up and down different mountains.
The adventure begins as soon as you leave Earth, when the plane takes off at 47 degrees of inclination with respect to the Earth’s surface. To give you an idea, the flight’s commercial take-off does not exceed 20 degrees.
At the end of the first climb, you can feel the microgravity for a few seconds. At half the height of the landing, the opposite happens: everything increases a lot, and it is as if we are nailed to the ground. Then the plane begins a new ascent, and we have another few seconds of weightlessness, followed by a new period of hypergravity.
Parabolic flights are beginning to be used to research microgravity – it’s cheaper than sending a search to a space station, for example. Today, there are companies that implement these types of Travel just for fun.
And it’s not just pocket fun: A ride like this in a modified Boeing 727 costs at least $5,000 USD per person.
Before take off, all passengers are required to take an anti-nausea medication. Those who have a strong stomach and enjoy the ride say they feel like they’re in a deep pool, just without water. It is also difficult to stand in the absence of gravity: people usually float as if sitting on invisible chairs.
SOURCES: Mauricio Pazini Brandão, Aeronautical Engineer at the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), São José de Campos (SP), Tice Rossumano (PhD Professor in Astrophysiology – King’s College London and Coordinator of the Center for Microgravity at PUC-RS), Guinness World Records and the websites of Embraer, Airbus and Zero G.
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