STEM Lessons for College Students

What Is Weightlessness?

Do you have weight in space? Is weightlessness an absence of gravity, or actually an absence of forces pushing against it? Andy unpicks what weight really is.
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On one hand, we learn at school that weight is the force on an object due to gravity; on the other, there’s a more subtle understanding of weight as something we feel and discuss every day. How these two ideas fit together can cause some confusion, particularly when the idea of weightlessness and astronauts in orbit on the ISS is introduced.

When we tackled weightlessness for the 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES and our online series, A Place Called Space in December last year, we spent a long time thinking about weight. This video shares some of those thoughts.

For example, when you’re in freefall, are you weightless? Is weightlessness a consequence of freefall, or is freefall, in fact, a consequence of weightlessness? Andy explains.

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