Space

Stephen Hawking Rises from His Chair

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Stephen Hawking is planning a warm-up for the flight he has booked on Virgin Galactic in 2008 or thereabouts. He'll be sampling a little bit of zero gravity next month:

Hawking, surrounded by a medical entourage, is to take a zero-gravity ride out of Cape Canaveral on a so-called vomit comet, a padded aircraft that flies a roller-coaster trajectory to produce periods of weightlessness. He is getting his lift gratis, from Zero Gravity, a company that has been flying thrill seekers on a special Boeing 727-200 since 2004 at $3,500 a trip.

Peter H. Diamandis, chief executive of Zero G, said that "the idea of giving the world's expert on gravity the opportunity to experience zero gravity" was irresistible.

More on Hawking's prospects for private space travel–and yours–here.

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  1. Love the headline.

    Part of it reminds of Princess Bride where Wesley challenges Humperdink a duel to the PAIN.

    The other is combining this where Professor Hawking rises from chair to kiss away Santorum’s daughter’s sweet tears while being cheered on by Nearly Headless Nick.

    Awesome!

    oh yeah – private space travel is cool.

  2. “the idea of giving the world’s expert on gravity the opportunity to experience zero gravity”

    The worlds expert on gravity should probably educate Mr. Diamandis that what he’s peddling isn’t “zero gravity”, but FREE FALL, not even micro-gravity, although the perceived effect is the same.

  3. The world’s expert on gravity would say that if zero gravity and free fall produce the same effects then by the equivalence principle there is no difference.

  4. And then the world’s expert on gravity would go back to banging his nurse in zero g, while ignoring earth-bound pedants.

  5. Dr. T:

    wow. That’s hawt.

    /exits to private area for a few minutes. um. seconds. oh. nevermind.

    /trods off

  6. OR…you could call it relative weightlessness.

  7. Part of it reminds of Princess Bride where Wesley challenges Humperdink a duel to the PAIN.

    The other is combining this where Professor Hawking rises from chair to kiss away Santorum’s daughter’s sweet tears while being cheered on by Nearly Headless Nick.

    (In synthesized voice): DROP. YOUR. SWORD.

  8. I think this is part of his plan to bombard himself with cosmic rays, thereby gaining amazing super-powers.

  9. “Space Travel Is Boring”

    Won herself a pass to some far off moon
    It was second class but what’s to lose
    And looking out her window she could more than assume
    That you can’t see air or time
    She’s the only rocketeer in the whole damn place
    They gave her a mirror so she could talk to a face
    She still got plenty lonely but that’s just the case
    With time, time, time
    Started hearing voices sometime in June
    She knew she could go crazy but didn’t think that soon
    Now she doesn’t feel lonely but she’d just as soon
    Try, try, try try
    Man shot to the moon
    I read a paperback and want to come home soon
    I’m shot to the moon
    Been there a half an hour, I want to come home soon

  10. The world’s expert on gravity would say that if zero gravity and free fall produce the same effects then by the equivalence principle there is no difference.

    Indeed, there is no such thing as “zero gravity” anywhere in this universe. Anything you perceive as such is actually only free fall.

  11. Stephen Hawking Builds Robotic Exoskeleton

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39133

    Is there anything “The Onion” hasn’t considered first?

  12. Peter Schilling says it best..
    V?llig losgel?st von der Erde
    schwebt das Raumschiff schwerelos.

    Earth below us
    drifting, falling
    floating, weightless
    coming home

  13. Is there anything “The Onion” hasn’t considered first?

    I dunno, did they come up with sharks with laser beams on the forehead before Dr. Evil did?

  14. V?llig losgel?st von der Erde
    schwebt das Raumschiff schwerelos.

    All lyrics to all songs should be in German. English is so wimpy and lame in comparison.

  15. Es gibt einen Mond am Himmel Es hat gerufen den Mond Und jeden ist dort, einschlie?lich, Saturn, Quecksilber
    Saturn, Venus Saturn, Mars Saturn, Jupiter Das Lieferwagen Allen Band

  16. Rhywun:
    🙂

    Or in Viennese

    (Springsteen’s “One Step Up”)

  17. There are quite a few physicists that would take issue with giving Hawking the label, “the world’s expert on gravity”.

  18. “And then the world’s expert on gravity would go back to banging his nurse in zero g, while ignoring earth-bound pedants.”

    You say that like its a bad thing or something.

  19. Klingon makes German look like French.

    /NERD!

  20. The genuine Master of Gravity is whoever engineered Carmen Electra’s boob job.

  21. I think the real GENUINE Master of Gravity is Hillary Clinton, whose nuts have yet to drop…

  22. As soon as Stephen Hawking stands up, I’ll stand down.

  23. Before Modest Mouse, before Peter Schilling, and even pretty much simultaneously with Elton John, there was Harry Nillson:

    “Spaceman”

    Bang, bang, shoot em’ up, destiny
    Bang, bang, shoot em’ up to the moon
    Bang, bang, shoot em’ up one, two, three
    (One, two, three, four!)

    I wanted to be a spaceman
    That’s what I wanted to be
    But now that I am a spaceman
    Nobody cares about me

    Hey mother earth
    Won’t ‘cha bring me back down
    Safely to the sea
    But ’round and around and around and around
    Is all she ever say to me

    I wanted to make a good run
    I wanted to go to the moon
    I knew that it had to be fun
    I told ’em to send me real soon
    I wanted to be a spaceman
    I wanted to be, so bad
    But now that I am a spaceman
    I’d rather be back on the pad

    Hey mother earth
    Won’t ‘cha bring me back down
    Safely to the sea
    But ’round and around and around and around
    Is just a lot of lunacy
    (Yeah!)
    ‘Round and around and around and around and around
    (So bring me back down)
    ‘Round and around and around and around and around
    Safe on the ground

    Hey mother earth
    Won’t ‘cha bring me back down
    Safely to the sea
    But ’round and around and around and around
    Is all she ever say to me, yeah

    You know I wanted to be a spaceman
    That’s what I wanted to be
    But now that I am a spaceman
    Nobody cares about me

    Say, hey! You mother earth
    You better bring me back down
    I’ve taken just as much as I can
    But around and around and around and around
    Is the problem of a spaceman

    (from “Son of Schmillson,” 1972)

  24. Sorry, it’s “Nilsson” and “Schmilsson.” My fast-flying typing fingers got away with me … again. 🙂

  25. Stephen Hawking’s endorsement for a service that appeals to wannabe astronauts? Best promotional gimmick ever!

  26. Hawking…… in Space!!!!!……puts me in mind of Heinlein’s Waldo. He should get a suite on the international space station.

    Kevin

  27. James Anderson Merritt,
    Sun Ra got all those guys beat and he could save Hawking some dough, because already
    You’re on the spaceship Earth
    And you’re outward bound
    Destination unknown
    But you haven’t met the captain of the spaceship yet
    Have you?

  28. [Computerized Voice]

    Weeeeeeeee.

  29. 5 bucks says he has a religious experience and becomes a young earth, fixed earth creationist…

  30. I hope somebody’s planning on taxing this gratis experience.

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