Field of Science

Astronaut Training

The Midstate California Fair is on in town. Last year we went to see friends ride in a roping competition and the bull riding. This year, we did the rides. Crash Kid's undoing was the Gravitron, which runs at 4 G. The ride was developed based on the centrifuge used by NASA for astronaut training. According to Crash and his sib, there is no sense of movement inside, just a feeling of weight and the ability to climb the walls or hang upside down. They also report that while once is fun, twice risks the stability of dinner.

The Real Thing

Astronaut Walter M. Schirra Jr. prepares to enter gondola of centrifuge which is used to test gravitational stress on astronauts training for space flight. Schirra became the pilot of the Mercury-Atlas 8 six-orbit space mission. Photo is public domain from NASA.

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