Friday, March 2, 2007

Stephen Hawking Is Going Weightless

Yes! In one of my posts back in December, I reported how the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, after receiving the Royal Society Copley Award, had expressed a profound interest in going to space. Now he's going to get his chance:

First, on April 26, he's getting a free flight on one of those "vomit comet" flights where they take you up and down at sharp angles such that, during the downward flights, you experience about half a minute of weightlessness. Hosted by a company called Zero Gravity Corp. in Florida, the flight has a value of $3750, and will afterward auction off a couple seats from the flight.

Then, Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic company will give Hawking a free suborbital flight to outer space on their spaceship (to be completed in 2009), at a value of $200,000.

Man! Can't you just see the gangly, nearly completely paralyzed Hawking floating around in zero-G, sans wheelchair (or even with wheelchair)? I can hear his synthesized voice going, "Wow . . this . . is . . totally . . rad." And I guess this will make him the first physically handicapped person to go into space.

And kudos to Zero Gravity Corp and Sir Branson! But then, how could they possibly refuse the greatest physicist of all time, gravity theorist extraordinaire?

UPDATED (4/27/07): Hawking took his ride, and went weightless, and loved it. See more recent post:

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