Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Stephen Hawking in Space?

Posted 27 April, 2007 at 11:02am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Current Events)

Honestly, I think this is super-cool. Yesterday Stephen Hawking, the most famous (and probably most brilliant) astro-physicist and cosmologist in the world, survived (actually, enjoyed immensely) two zero-gravity dives in the "Vomit Comet" (a modified 727 designed to fly up into the atmosphere and then dive while accelerating to mimic free-fall). Stephen Hawking is just about completely paralyzed (able to control his blinks and right cheek, with the help of a computer system he can control his wheelchair, write, give speeches, and even effectively tell jokes complete with comedic timing (I had the pleasure of watching a speech he gave to Intel in 2005). Apparently, one of Stephen's life-long dreams has been to go to outer space and Richard Branson (the eccentric entreprenuer who founded Virgin-fill-in-the-blank) is working with him to assess if his health will allow him to ride on Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital space flights which should begin sometime around or after 2009. Richard Branson is known for his amazing and sometimes outrageous business stunts to get media attention, but helping a paralyzed comological genius attain space flight is just plain cool.

See a video of Stephen in zero gravity.

Stephen Hawking in zero-g

2 comments to Stephen Hawking in Space?

Gary, April 28th, 2007 at 12:42 pm:

  • I am very happy that Stephen was able to experience weightlessness. For all he has added to our knowledge, he deserves it.

Judith in Umbria, April 29th, 2007 at 7:23 am:

  • I can think of no one who deserves to feel free of his body more than Hawking. I was so happy when I read the first reports. He is why I know anything about the universe as it is presently thought to be, and while grateful, I am also sad that every day is such a challenge to him.
    Go, fly, float!