Cool science facts delivered daily to your email

 Facts By Category:

 » Physics
 » Astronomy
 » Chemistry
 » Biology
 » Mathematics
 » Geology
 » Engineering
 » Medicine
 » Science

 ScienceIQ Team:

 »Writers & Editors
Science Supplies,
Toys & Gifts
Physics & Astronomy
What Is Microgravity?

A simple example of microgravity's effect in combustion is the behavior of flames in space. On Earth, hot air rises around a candle flame, which causes the flame to flicker and take on an elongated shape. In microgravity, however, no such distortion takes place. The flame, without the effects of gravity, has a steady, spherical, shape. Gravity is a force that governs motion throughout the universe. It holds us to the ground and keeps the Earth in orbit around the Sun. Microgravity describes the environment in orbital space flight, which has very weak gravitational effects (one-millionth of what is felt on Earth) and which is sometimes referred to as a state of 'weightlessness.' The condition of microgravity occurs when an object is in 'free fall.' In free fall, an object falls faster and faster, accelerating with exactly the speed of attraction caused by gravity. Objects traveling around the Earth in a state of continuous free fall, or orbit, are essentially weightless even though their mass remains the same.

Conducting research in a microgravity environment gives researchers a unique opportunity to study the true nature of processes and materials without having to consider the effects of Earth's gravity. Thus, physics theories can be tested at levels of accuracy that are impossible on Earth. Microgravity experiments uncover the mystery of how gravity affects processes such as combustion science and fluid physics. This knowledge can then help to improve the way we do things on Earth.


Fact Credit:
NASA Glenn Research Center
Glenn Research Center Web Site

Further Reading
Microgravity Combustion: Fire in Free Fall
by Howard D. Ross (Editor)

Related Web Links
Microgravity Science Division
by NASA Glenn Research Center

K-12 Educational Program
by National Center For Microgravity Research

Home | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy

Copyright © 2002-2021 - All Rights Reserved